EU Sanctions Syrians Recruiting Mercenaries In Ukraine


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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy

DAMASCUS (Worthy News) – The has imposed asset freezes and visa bans on influential Syrians for allegedly recruiting mercenaries to fight alongside Russian forces in Ukraine.

The list of 10 Syrians includes Muhammad al-Salti, the commander of the Palestine Liberation Army, a Syrian government-backed force, learned. It was said to be “engaged in recruiting to fight in Ukraine alongside .”

Also blacklisted is leading businessman Issam Shammout, the owner of the Cham Wings airline, who is reputedly a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

An army colonel, Saleh al-Abdullah, is accused of recruiting soldiers from his 16th Brigade, which operated with Russian forces in Syria, to fight in Ukraine.

Two private security companies, Sanad Protection and Security Services and the Al-Sayyad Company for Guarding and Protection Services, nicknamed the “ Hunters,” were also hit with sanctions.

The says Sanad is supervised by the Russian mercenary firm Wagner and protects Russian business interests in Syria, including , gas, and phosphate extraction.

The Al-Sayyad Company was also linked to the Wagner and is accused of being “active in the recruitment of Syrian mercenaries to Libya and Ukraine.”

HEAVY LOSSES

Russia is increasingly relying on mercenaries as it suffers heavy losses among regular troops, several Western security sources say.

Syria’s leadership is a close ally of Russia, and including it in sanctions further internationalized the in Ukraine, already impacting global food and energy supplies.

The EU also announced the listings as part of new sanctions against Moscow.

Besides Syrians, the 27-nation bloc targeted Russia’s largest lender Sberbank, banned Russian gold and more companies and people, and increased export controls.

Adding Sberbank to freezes of assets in the West completely prevents transactions except for financial operations for the in food and fertilizer, EU officials said.

Russia’s top lender was already excluded from the SWIFT bank messaging system, hampering its ability to conduct business.

The sanctions came as fighting continued in Ukraine despite Thursday’s deal between Russia and Ukraine over grain exports blocked in Black Sea ports.

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