Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, branded in mainstream media as “Putin’s chef”, is hiring hundreds of “freelance fighters” as a part of a plan to attack Syria’s Greater Idlib, a Jihadists stronghold, Bloomberg reported on September 6, citing “people with direct knowledge of the matter.”
“Grouped into tank-equipped units of 50 men each and backed by Russian air power, the plan is for these soldiers to work with uniformed Syrian forces, first to establish escape corridors for civilians, one of the people said. Then they’ll engage in the street-to-street fighting required to clear the heavily populated city of thousands of al-Qaeda-affiliated militants,” the outlet quoted the sources as saying.
According to the report, the supposed large-scale attack will begin within a few weeks with the aim of restoring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad control over all of Idlib. The outlet claimed that this move would putting an end to any more talk of Assad’s ouster.
Bloomberg didn’t provide any sources that can be verified. Most likely, other, not anonymous, sources just do not exist.
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) launched two military operations inside Greater Idlib with support from the Russian Aerospace Forces, earlier in 2019. No private military contractors (PMCs) from Russia or any other country were spotted on the frontline during the active phase of the operations.
Bloomberg didn’t explain why the SAA, which successfully captured dozens of towns in Greater Idlib over the last four months, is urgendtly hirying Russian PMCs, or why a Russian businessman would invest in such a battle. Idlib has no natural resources what so ever.
The report appears to be a part of a new propaganda campaign targeting the SAA and Russian forces operating in Syria.
A day earlier, the Ministry of Defense of Russia denied reports claiming that three Russian soldiers were killed near Greater Idlib. The reports were also aimed at dramatizing Russia’s role in Greater Idlib operations.