Their families are promised $2,800, plus $600 a month for one year, if their loved ones are killed in combat, he said, adding that in Syria, those soldiers earn about $100 a month, while soldiers from less elite units earn less than $50 per month.
A commander of a militia made up of fighters from Syria and neighboring countries that received Russian support during the Syrian war said his group had sent another contingent of 85 men to Russia. They included Lebanese, Iraqis and Syrians, he said, adding that more were on the way.
“The Russians helped us when needed it, and now it’s time to give back part of what they offered us,” the commander said.
A Syrian man who returned recently from fighting in Libya said he had gone solely for the money, but would never do it again.
Once he was in Libya, where he guarded oil and other facilities, his three-month contract was extended to six, and his salary was cut from $1,000 to $800 a month, he said. His food, water and lodging were supposed to be covered, but he said he slept in a tent with other men, ate mostly rice and bread and had to buy drinking water.
He was happy to make it home and used his earnings to clear his debts and open a cigarette shop, he said. But his activities had left a social stain that could hurt his marriage prospects, he said.