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Slavonic Corps
Participant in the Syrian Civil War
Active October 2013
Area of
operations
Latakia Governorate, Deir ez-Zor Governorate
Strength 267 (October 2013)
Allies Syrian Armed Forces
File:Flag of the National Defense Force.svg National Defense Force
Hezbollah
Opponents Syria Free Syrian Army
Al-Nusra Front
Battles/wars

Syrian Civil War

  • Battle of Al-Sukhnah (2013)

The Slavonic Corps (Russian: Славянский Корпус) is a Hong Kong registered,[1] private military contractor that operated during the Syrian Civil War.

Formation

In the spring of 2013, job ads by a Hong Kong based company emerged on various Russian military related websites. The ads promised 5,000 US$ per month for guard duties protecting Syrian energy facilities during the Syrian Civil War. The ads attracted the attention of former members of OMON, SOBR, VDV and Spetsnaz; many of them had previous military experience in the Tajikistan Civil War as well as the Second Chechen War.[2]

Deployment

After initially traveling to Beirut, the mercenaries were first transferred to Damascus and then to a Syrian army base in Latakia. By October the Slavonic Corps had a strength of 267 contractors divided into two companies that were present in Latakia.[3]

The contractors were provided with outdated equipment which raised concerns among the participants. They soon realized that the FSB and the Syrian government had no involvement with the operation. Those wishing to return to Russia were left with no choice but to earn their ticket back through direct participation in the Syrian Civil War. The new goal of the Slavonic Corps was described as guarding the oil fields of Deir ez-Zor. Instead of the promised T-72s, the contractors were provided with metal plate covered buses. On their way to Deir ez-Zor the column encountered a Syrian air force helicopter which collided with a transmission line and crashed into the caravan, injuring one of the contractors.[4]

On 18 October, the column received orders to reinforce Syrian army forces in the city of Al-Sukhnah. Three hours into its journey the column came under attack. With the aid of a Syrian army self-propelled gun and air support from a single fighter jet the contractors assumed a defensive position. Rebel fighters numbering from two to six thousand men attempted a pincer movement. Vastly outnumbered, the contractors retreated to their vehicles as a desert storm covered the battlefield. In the aftermath of the battle six Slavonic Corps members were wounded.[4] Failing to achieve its goals, the group returned to Russia. Immediately after arriving at Vnukovo International Airport the participants were arrested by the FSB on charges of acting as mercenaries, which is an act punishable under the article number 348 of the Russian criminal law. Despite the fact that the company was registered in Hong Kong, the owners were also arrested.[2]

See also

References

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