Syrian rebels publish photo of pro-Assad Russian fighter
Syrian rebel fighters have published a photo of the ID card of an alleged Russian officer who they say was killed while fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar al- Assad’s forces in Aleppo.
The ID card of Alexey Maliuta purports that he worked for the Moran Security Group, an international security company which provides security, transportation, medical, rescue, and consulting services to its clients.
Russia has supported Assad’s regime in the two-and-a-half-year conflict, along with Iran which sent military commanders to Syria to back government forces. Assad’s military is also backed by the pro-Iranian Lebanese Hezbollah militia and Iraqi Shiite fighters.
They are battling rebels whose ranks have been swollen by an influx of Sunni Islamist fighters from across the Muslim world.
Assad, whose forces have regained their hold of the area around Damascus and central Syria this year, faces little pressure to make concessions to his opponents as long as he maintains military momentum and Iranian support.
In a visit on Saturday to Iran, Syrian Prime Minister Wael Halki said that the government forces were winning the war with rebels and would not rest while a single enemy fighter remained at large.
Halki said the era of “threats and intimidation has gone, never to return, while the era of victory and pride is being created now on Syrian soil,” according to Reuters.
But Russia and Turkey have asked for a ceasefire before the planned Geneva II peace conference, scheduled for Jan. 22, takes place.
The Geneva peace conference is aimed at ending the Syrian conflict that is estimated to have killed more than 120,000 people and has driven millions from their homes.