The Turkish government was moving the families of Arab and Turkmen Syrian mercenaries to the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Sky News Arabiya TV reported on November 22.
Azerbaijan, Turkey’s ally, launched an attack on Armenian forces in the region on September 27 with support from thousands of Syrian mercenaries. The attack ended on November 10 with a Russian-brokered peace deal that will see most of the region returning to Baku’s control.
Shafan al-Khabouri, a representative of the autonomous administration in northeastern Syria, told Sky News Arabiya that the families of dozens of Syrian mercenaries who fought in Nagorno-Karabakh are currently on their way to the region, where they will be settled.
“They want to create a demographic change in Karabakh,” said al-Khabouri, noting that there is a Kurdish minority in the region who are in contact with the autonomous administration in northeastern Syria.
According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, around 2,580 Turkish-backed Syrian militants were deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh. At least 293 were killed in the conflict.
Last week, the monitoring group reported that Turkey was planning to keep Syrian mercenaries in the Azerbaijani-held part of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Turkey and Azerbaijan appear to be planning to change the demography of Nagorno-Karabakh, where Armenians are the majority. This could hinder the implementation of the Russian-brokered peace deal.
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