WASHINGTON — Moscow is recruiting Syrians skilled in urban combat to fight in Ukraine as Russia’s invasion is poised to expand deeper into cities, according to U.S. officials.
An American assessment indicates that Russia, which has been operating inside Syria since 2015, has in recent days been recruiting fighters from there, hoping their expertise in urban combat can help take Kyiv and deal a devastating blow to the Ukraine government, according to four American officials. The move points to a potential escalation of fighting in Ukraine, experts said.
It is unclear how many fighters have been identified, but some are already in Russia preparing to enter the conflict, according to one official.
Officials declined to elaborate on what else is known about the deployment of Syrian fighters to Ukraine, the status or precise scale of the effort. According to a publication based in Deir Ezzor, Syria, Russia has offered volunteers from the country between $200 and $300 “to go to Ukraine and operate as guards” for six months at a time.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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