Nytt

Bildet: Russland har skaffet seg et betydelig fotfeste i Syria etter at Obama bakket ut. Putin og forsvarsminister Sergej Sjojgu på besøk på Hmeymim-basen i Latakia 11 desember 2017. Foto: Mikhail Klimentyev/Reuters/Scanpix

Tre Reuters-reportere avslører hvordan Putin flyr leiesoldater ut fra Rostov i det sørlige Russland og til Syria.

Flyene er ca 20 år gamle og de selges og videreselges så mange ganger at det blir umulig å finne ut hvor de til slutt havner.

The Airbus they flew on was just one of dozens of aircraft that once belonged to mainstream European and U.S. aviation companies, then were passed through a web of intermediary companies and offshore firms to Middle Eastern airlines subject to U.S. sanctions – moves that Washington alleges are helping Syria bypass the sanctions.

The flights in and out of Rostov, which no organization has previously documented, are operated by Cham Wings, a Syrian airline hit with U.S. sanctions in 2016 for allegedly transporting pro-Assad fighters to Syria and helping Syrian military intelligence transport weapons and equipment. The flights, which almost always land late at night, don’t appear in any airport or airline timetables, and fly in from either Damascus or Latakia, a Syrian city where Russia has a military base.

The operation lays bare the gaps in the U.S. sanctions, which are designed to starve Assad and his allies in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and the Hezbollah militia of the men and materiel they need to wage their military campaign.

Å stive opp Assad er ledd i et storpolitisk spill, hvor Iran og Hizbollah inngår.

Hjemsendte kister er ikke populært i Russland, derfor har Putin outsourcet krigen til private kontraktører. Da blir det mindre bråk når de kommer hjem i kister.

Reuters er forbausende tynne på denne russiske utgaven av Blackwater. Gruppen kalles Wagner, etter komponisten, fordi lederen Dmitrij Utkin, er en stor fan av Wagner.

Putin holder avstand til Wagner-gruppen, men Utkin er observert på en mottakelse i Kreml.

It was founded by Dmitry Utkin, a former military intelligence officer, according to people interviewed during this investigation. Its first combat role was in eastern Ukraine in support of Moscow-backed separatists, they said. Reuters was unable to contact Utkin directly. The League of Veterans of Local Conflicts, which according to Russian media has ties to Utkin, declined to pass on a message to him, saying it had no connection to the Wagner group.

Antall drepte er langt høyere enn det russiske myndigheter oppgir. De snakker om 44 helt fra Russland ble involvert, men Reuters dokumenterer 40 drepte bare på noen måneder.

Men 8. februar i år tok russerne 300 casualites, drepte og sårede, da de var med å angripe amerikanerne og SDF-milits ved Deir el-Zour. Det var et katastrofalt tall for en styrke på rundt 3.000 mann og må ha gjort dypt inntrykk i Moskva.

En av enkene forteller en detalj som sier noe om at forholdet mellom russerne og syrerne kanskje ikke var det beste:

One of the widows recounted conversations with her husband after he returned from his first tour of duty to Syria. He told her that Russian contractors there are often sent into the thick of the battle and are the first to enter captured towns, she said.

Syrian government forces then come into the town and raise their flags, he told her, taking credit for the victory.
Trafikken er ikke ubetydelig:
Reporters traced flights between the Rostov airport and Syria from Jan. 5, 2017, to March 11, 2018. In that time, Cham Wings aircraft made 51 round trips, each time using Airbus A320 jets that can carry up to 180 passengers.

51 turer frem og tilbake på 14 måneder er vesentlig.

 

 

Special Report: How a secret Russian airlift helps Syria’s Assad