Why Syrians are joining Turkey in Nagorno-Karabakh clash

Al-Monitor spoke with Syrian opposition fighters who joined the fight in Azerbaijan. Here is what they had to say

Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey have been exchanging accusations about bringing Syrian fighters to Azerbaijan, as clashes have been escalating in recent days following the renewed fighting between the two neighboring countries over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area.

Turkey stands by Azerbaijan in its war with Armenia for two reasons, mainly because Azeris belong to the same Turkish ethnicity or are the closest to Turks, and also due to the long-standing hostility between the Turks and Armenians against the background of the conflict between the Ottomans and the Armenians at the beginning of the 20th century and the accusations against Ottomans of committing genocide against Armenians.

For its part, Russia is backing Armenia due to the presence of an Armenian lobby in Russia and the traditional alliance between the Armenians and Russians during the founding of the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, Russia maintains military bases in Armenia.

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On Sept. 28, the spokesman for the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense, Anar Iwazov, said in a press statement that Syrian mercenaries of Armenian origins were found among the bodies of the Armenian forces on the Karabakh front.

On the same day, Sept. 28, Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted Armenia’s ambassador to Russia, Vardan Toganyan, as saying that Turkey had transferred about 4,000 fighters from northern Syria to Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, Hikmat Hajiyev, head of the Department of Foreign Policy Affairs of the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration, responded to the Armenian accusations, denying all claims about his country bringing Syrian fighters.

Read more: al-monitor