Russia and France Concerned Over Presence of Libyan-Syrian Fighters in Nagorno-Karabakh

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On Saturday, the Russian President Vladimir Putin held a telephone conversation with his French counterpart, Emanuel Macron, to discuss a number of regional files, especially with regard to escalating conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

In a statement, the Kremlin said that the two presidents voiced their deep and serious concern over the involvement of extremist fighters from Syria and Libya in the large-scale clashes between ethnic Armenian and Azeri forces in the region.

On his part, Putin briefed Macron on the steps Russia is taking to reach a cessation of hostilities as soon as possible and a resumption of negotiations designed to ensure a political and diplomatic solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis.

The interlocutors stressed their determination to continue the mediating efforts of Russia and France, including within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group.

Thousands of pro-Turkey Syrian and Libyan fighters are alleged to have gone to fight in Nagorno-Karabakh in return for financial incentives.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not the first time Turkey has been accused of recruiting militants it has backed in Syria to fight in other countries.

A United Nations panel of experts says Turkey began to recruit about 5,000 Syrian fighters, in December 2019, from Turkish-backed forces to bolster Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

Meanwhile, the American “Wall Street Journal” confirmed that hundreds of Syrian fighters linked to Turkey were deployed in Karabakh and participated in the battles.

A Syrian source told the newspaper that sending fighters to Libya or Azerbaijan has become “a natural phenomenon. People no longer care about what or who they fight, but only ask about money…they will go to where the money is.”