About Russian citizens who go to Syria to fight the regime of Bashar al-Assad because of their religious beliefs, has long been known. The fact that mercenaries-Russians can participate in the armed conflict and on the side of the current government started talking in October 2013, when the opposition distributed on the Internet documents allegedly destroyed by a resident of the Krasnodar Territory Alexey Malyuta in the clash near the city of Homs. Finding out that our fellow citizens had indeed traveled to Syria for armed work under contracts with Slavonic Corps Limited (Slavonic Corps) stationed in St. Petersburg, Fontanka inquired about the number of our fellow countrymen who participated in the adventure. It turned out that more than ten people had left the banks of the Neva for seeking happiness and earning under Arab bullets. Some of them agreed to the conversation. Asking not to call in the publication of the names: “To nothing this. We are not looking for popularity, and the FSB gave us a subscription. But we will not be silent, so that others will not fall as we do. We are back, we are just lucky. ”
How to get to war
Appearances, passwords and other conspiracy are not needed. Since the spring of 2013, the announcements of the “Slavic Corps” about recruiting former military personnel with combat experience to work in long-distance business trips have appeared on specialized sites throughout Russia. Many have responded. Not all retired officers of the Airborne Forces and Special Forces, fired SOBRs and riot policemen found themselves in civilian life. Someone's office five days a week is fine, but someone has a sharp knife. And not everyone who knows how to skillfully handle a machine gun or a sniper rifle has the talent of a businessman. It became boring in the metropolis, the notorious "dashing" ended, and to command the barrier in the chop is humiliating and unprofitable. The St. Petersburg former riot policemen, former special forces officers of the internal troops, and bodyguards were interested in offering 5 thousands of American dollars a month to protect certain “energy facilities”. It is an everyday matter, almost all of them have the North Caucasus, Tajikistan behind them, and the uneasy experience of “solving problems” with alarming people around crime. 20 thousand dollars for disability and 40 thousand for death: acceptable.
A call on the phone, then a meeting on the street with the head of the Moran Security Group, lieutenant colonel of the FSB in the reserve Vyacheslav Kalashnikov, who introduced himself as a general and explained the conditions. Then an interview with a personnel specialist in the office of the Baltic Rifle Center on Alexander Blok Street, 5 house, filling out questionnaires and ordering a passport.
The call to Moscow followed in September 2013. This time they talked with candidates in the premises of the Moran Security Group, that in Potapovsky lane, the house of 5. They explained that they would have to go to Syria, from the company “Slavic Corps”. Warned to be ready. We did not have time to return to Petersburg, the bell: “Come to Moscow urgently. It's time to fly on a business trip. With you - only a passport, do not take anything of the military or put on, intelligence of the enemy does not sleep! ”
The signing of contracts with Hong Kong-based Slavonic Corps Limited took place in the literal sense of the word on the knee on the platform of the Leningrad station: “Come on, come on, time does not wait.” Of the approximately twenty candidates who arrived, three, seeing Hong Kong in the requisites, turned around and went home instead of Syria. The rest took the risk. Bribed the promise to pay thousands of dollars in advance 4 each month and a solemn oath to transfer the first tranche in the coming days. In addition, men are not accustomed to the papers and more appreciated the agreement, believing that there is no way to deceive them.
Next was the flight to Lebanese Beirut, moving by car to Damascus. From the Syrian border - with a convoy of local guards. Local hotel, then the plane to Latakia, military base.
Tank for the guard
“A large field between Lattakia and Tartus is surrounded by barbed wire. There were located the Syrian reservists and our battalion. It used to be a racetrack. Placed in a former stable. By October, there were 267 people from the Slav Corps, divided into two companies. One company was staffed by Cossacks from the Kuban, another - by people from all over Russia, from St. Petersburg a 10 man - 12. As the commanding fathers said, the number of corps in Syria was supposed to be brought to 2 thousands of people. "
In addition to machine guns, the battalion received machine guns and grenade launchers. Anti-aircraft mounts - 1939 release. Mortars - 1943. Crews were formed for four tanks T-72 and several infantry fighting vehicles (infantry fighting vehicles). The question of the conformity of armaments to the tasks of object protection arose even sharply among the most gullible and was asked.
“Have you come to fight or guard?” Who is to protect - in the eternal outfit for housekeeping, ”- such was the response commanding word.
The project was led by Vadim Gusev, whom many knew as deputy director of the Moran Security Group.
For whom we fight
This is not fully understood. “When they spoke to us in Russia, they explained that we would go under a contract with the Syrian government, convinced that everything was legal and everything was in order. Like, our government and the FSB are aware of and participate in the project. When we arrived at the scene, it turned out that they had sent us, like gladiators, under a contract with some Syrian who either relates to the government or not ... That is, we are a private army of local authority. But there was no going back. As they said, a return ticket costs money, and we will work it out, whether we like it or not. ”
The task was reduced, as announced to the Slavic Corps fighters, to retain control over the center of the oil industry, the city of Deir-ez-Zor. In order to begin to control it, it was necessary to get to it. More than 500 kilometers in places where government troops occupied, where the opposition, and where it is completely incomprehensible by whom.
Trekking "Slavic Corps"
The first and only combat operation "Slavic Corps" did not work out from the very beginning. As one of our interlocutors, who was supposed to be part of the BMP crew, says that the 1979 cars of the year they were given were complete junk and couldn’t bring them to a combat-ready state.
The prepared T-72s were replaced by Syrians with incapable rusty T-62s, which also had to be left. The 15 October campaign was launched on Hyundai sheathed with homemade armor and JMC jeeps. We covered them with Bashar al-Assad portraits and Syrian flags and drove off.
Maybe they would have slipped, but the valiant and unpredictable Syrian intervened along the road aviation. The helicopter pilot, who wanted to either take a closer look at the caravan or frighten him with an imitation of an attack, in the middle of the desert and the boundless sky managed to find the power line wire, get tangled in it and crash to the convoy. There was a slight injury to one “legionnaire” and a bent submachine gun to the second. The crumpled turntable and pilot had to be dragged to a military airfield in Homs, the pace was lost.
Two days for some reason spent at the airport. 18-th of a sudden alarm sank into the car. It seems like in the neighboring town of Sukhne the oppositional rebels leaned on the Syrian militiamen and it was necessary to help out the militiamen. Three or four hours later, they finally moved somewhere along the road, came under fire under some burning city. Spread out, took up the defense. The Cossack company departed to the left and got into a mess - it entered into a clash with someone who was not behind Bashar al-Assad. Deployed mortars, of which, however, did not manage to cover the column of opponents, the government self-propelled gun (self-propelled artillery installation) approached, supported with fire. Bombed on the enemies of Assad aircraft. The gunmen, who, according to various sources, were not either 2 thousands or 6 thousands, were stubborn, apparently, began to bypass the battalion and take in ticks. “Slavic Corps”, not wanting to die for the ideals of Syrian statehood, was useless, plunged into cars and began to depart. During this departure, most likely, the bag of Alexey Malyuta was lost, which was taken as a trophy to the opponents of the regime.
It may be considered a great success that the corps lost only six people wounded for the entire battle, and there are two of them seriously enough. Immediately, we note that all the wounded were removed from the battle and returned home with everyone. “The sandstorm saved us, covered us at the departure, but also hid us from local souls. Such a charge of sand - nothing is visible. But thanks to him we are alive. "
End of mission
The way back to Homs, and then to the base in Latakia was unhappy. The attitude of the Syrians to the Russian legionnaires has changed noticeably. They recall the loud scandal that occurred at the airfield between Vadim Gusev and the Syrian "master" of the "Slavic Corps": they clearly had different points of view on future plans. The cries of contracting parties heard everything, including the mention of dollars, and more specifically, about 4 millions of dollars that need to be worked out. Yet the battalion returned to Latakia. If in September the Syrians met with flowers almost, now they looked, if not as enemies, then not as heroes. Surly so watched. Soon, they began to slowly disarm, the corps had to hand over all the heavy weapon. Until recently, they did not part only with automatic weapons. They say that without a machine gun in Syria, a Russian person has nothing to do now.
Met with honor
Despite the fact that, according to the contract, the trip was supposed to last five months, in the last days of October, the personnel were loaded onto two charter aircraft and sent to Moscow. In Vnukovo, the travelers did not expect such a reception. From the plane let out one by one, each fell into the hands of the officers of the FSB. Quick inspection, removal of SIM cards and any media, a short interrogation as a witness. Then the withdrawal of a passport, a non-disclosure subscription and a ticket to the house. Vadim Gusev, who flew in business class and left the plane first, remained at the disposal of investigators.
As explained in the Moran Security Group, he and another employee of the company, responsible for staffing Yevgeny Sidorov, were arrested in a criminal case initiated by the FSB headquarters for the never before used article 359 of the Criminal Code - mercenary.
There is no money and will not be
The nuance is that 4 thousands of dollars that should have been paid to each “security specialist” of the “Slavic Corps” at the beginning of the second month of a business trip, almost no one had time, and now in different parts of Russia there are very angry men around 200 intend to get their money. But Gusev and Sidorov are in Lefortovo, you cannot ask them. Sergey Kramsky, whose signature is on the contracts, none of the legionnaires have never seen. Petersburgers say they met with the leaders of the Moran Security Group, Vyacheslav Kalashnikov and Boris Chikin, who recruited them to work in Syria. They allegedly explained that this is not their business, they have no relation to Slavonic Corps, and there is no money and there will not be.
Professional word: This is a gamble
Once again, asking Vyacheslav Kalashnikov to speak on the Syrian theme and once again without receiving an answer, Fontanka asked for comment on the head of the largest private military company in Russia, RSB-Group. Oleg Krinitsyn is sure: the Syrian history of Slavonic Corps was originally an adventure.
“The widely advertised campaign to recruit mercenaries to Syria initially sounded like a joke, a certain PR-action. Then people believed and reached for their dream - to make money. But not everyone understood that the money was dirty and, possibly, mixed with blood. Before sending people to a country where active fighting is taking place, where there is practically a “layer cake” from the Syrian army, the opposition, the Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra, etc. fighters, it was necessary to prepare them, as well as understand how to get them out of there. Among the faces of the guys, imprinted on the background of the Syrian technology, hung with weapons, I noticed some of our former employees who were dismissed from the company for their low moral qualities. I saw among them guys with convictions. This once again confirms that when recruiting, the task was not to attract high-quality specialists, but it was just necessary to plug this “hole” with cannon fodder, and quickly. And the guys were sent under contracts resembling suicide contracts. People in advance signed the contract with the request to bury their remains in their homeland or, if impossible, in the country where they would die, and then reburied in Russia. Horror.
And we must remember that the article "mercenary" has not been canceled. Armed people from the offshore company "Slavkorp" without any security license, official permission for weapons went to protect it is not clear who it is not clear from what in a foreign country in troubled times. The fighters used heavy weapons, old military equipment, sniper rifles, Kalashnikov assault rifles. A form has been issued. One American sample. Another form - reminiscent of the special forces of the Syrian army. What is the security structure for such mimicry? The answer is obvious: the Russian guys would use it in the dark. And then on television they would not show the Krasnodar collective farmer Malyut, who, swearing merrily, breaks the crumbling branch about his similarly cheerful colleague in Syria, but the bloody footage of the killed Slavs in the form of the Syrian army would be presented, which, in principle, should have been provoke even more vigorous action by the Americans and the British in arming and supporting the Syrian militants.
The contract was not concluded with the state structure, but with some Syrian oligarch, allegedly with the consent of Assad. We went to protect the oil fields, and when we arrived, it turned out that these fields still needed to be repulsed. And when our guys were smart enough not to get involved in this slaughter, they were simply and unashamedly “handed over” to the militants, and they tried to surround and destroy a group of Russians from mortars and small arms. This is not our war, not our country, this is pure mercenary, but the people who went there were not to blame, they did not fully realize that they did not fall into a beautiful fairy tale, but to places where the fighter lives on average 2 - 3 weeks. They were sent as sheep to the slaughter. You need to understand that we are Russian, we are strangers in that country. Local fighters (on both sides) would have “handed them over” in the first place. What, in principle, happened.
I do not exclude that some of the managers of the Moran Security Group, and the affiliation of this company to Slavkorp, are quite obvious, could have embarked on this adventure in order to plug the financial hole that formed after the seizure of their vessel Myre Seadiver in Nigeria. But a military officer, who understands what life is and what death is, would not have sent his people there.
In the "RSB-groups" more than once there were offers to work in Syria, and from different sides (the free Syrian army and simply incomprehensible businessmen), and the money was offered serious, but we did not go for it. That's when RSB-Group will be offered a contract with the government - then we will work, but work under an official contract with the state structure. We are ready to professionally and legally ensure the security of any object: a seaport, an airport, television and radio stations, right up to the Russian embassy.
The answer to the question of the correspondent about Syria and the “Slavonic Corps” was given by the duty officer immediately: “The Public Relations Center of the FSB does not have such information”.
Fight at Sukhna. View from the opposition
The Mujahideen of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham in the Homs area conducted a successful operation.
Assault units attacked a group of kafirs in the village of Sukhna. During a successful offensive, a large CAT was captured. Another 1 PPC is surrounded. The fighting continues.
The Mujahids succeeded in destroying more than 100 Asadites and Shiites.
Among the destroyed there are Russian mercenaries.
Fight at Sukhna. View from the official Damascus
In Homs, particularly fierce battles by the Syrian army and militant gangs continued in the area of As-Sukhna, where for several days terrorist armed groups attempted to seize military targets. On October 17, they managed to achieve advancement when attracting numerous gangs, including those who arrived from Raqqa. And already 20-th number of militants were thrown back.
Three terrorist hideouts of Jash Al-Islam were attacked by combat aircraft in the vicinity of As-Sukhna. As a result, more than 25 militants were destroyed.
October 20 eliminated many terrorists during the fighting, including 2 field commanders from Chechnya and Egypt nicknamed Abu Hamza Al-Sheshani and Abu Musab Al-Masri, and a Saudi citizen, one of Bin Laden’s personal friends, Jafin Omar Al-Utebi .