The Russian President’s Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, stated that Moscow has raised the issue of Turkish use of mercenaries from Syria. Such fighters have recently been used in Libya, and in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
In a statement, Bogdanov added that they have discussed all relevant matters relating to mercenaries and stressed that their involvement in conflicts like Nagorno-Karabakh is unacceptable. Turkey has refuted the reports of militants being transported to the Caucasus from other countries.
Notably, former Armenian Ambassador to Italy, Sergis Ghazarian, confirmed that about 4,000 mercenaries from the Al-Nusra Front and the Sultan Murad Brigade arrived from Libya and Syria. He added that they are fighting on behalf of Azerbaijani forces.
The Wall Street Journal confirmed that hundreds of Syrian fighters linked to Turkey were deployed in the region, and participated in battles.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a disputed territory consisting of ethnic Armenians but which was part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union’s dissolution. Fighting broke out in February 1988, after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave, as well as seven adjacent territories, over which Azerbaijan lost control.
Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs – Russia, France, and the United States.