Turkey is sending Syrian militants to Kashmir, Kurdish media have reported. In October, it was reported that Turkey had assigned Syrian militants to Nagorno-Karabakh, where they fought alongside Azerbaijani forces trying to recover land from Armenia.

Turkey's active plans to meddle in the South Asian conflict between India and Pakistan was reported by Kurdish language news outlet Forat News, according to Iran's Fars News. The report said militiamen from the dreaded Solaiman Shah outfit are being assigned to Kashmir.

Turkey, under president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has embraced a radical approach to Islamic causes around the world. The active interference in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was the latest manifestation of this new approach. Incidentally, alongside Turkey, Pakistan was a key Asian country that openly supported Azerbaijan in the recent war against Armenia.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan Wikimedia Commons

In February, addressing the Pakistani parliament, Erdogan said his country stood with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. "We have never forgotten and will never forget the help which the Pakistani people extended by sharing their own bread during our War of Independence. And now, Kashmir is and will be the same for us," he said. He also reminded Pakistan that Turkey raised the Kashmir issue in the United Nations in September 2019, after India abrogated the special status of Kashmir.

There were reports earlier that the Turkey-Azerbaijan-Pakistan axis would next focus on Kashmir, where India is fighting Pakistan-sponsored insurgency. Kashmir became part of India through a royal covenant following the partition of the peninsula in 1947. Pakistan challenged the accession of the mainly Muslim Kashmir to India and fought three major wars with india over the region. India holds Pakistan responsible for occupying parts of Kashmir and fomenting terrorism in the region.

Turkey has asked commanders of the Solaiman Shah militia to prepare a list of volunteers who would be willing to travel to Kashmir. The report says that Al-Makni Abu Amsheh, a commander of the group, told his followers that the Turkish army wants to dispatch a unit of the fighters to Kashmir.

The commander said the mercenaries travelling to Kashmir will be paid $2,000.

Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters
Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters Reuters

During the Azerbaijan-Armenia war, Turkey had sent thousands of Syrian mercenaries to the warfront. According to the latest count, more than 300 of the Syrian mercenaries died in the war. Turkey hired the fighters, most of whom were from the Free Syrian Army, through a private Turkish security company. This company took the men to Turkey before flying them off to Azerbaijan. Turkey has officially denied hiring Syrian mercenaries for the Nagorno-Karabakh war.

Turkey is not entirely new to the dealings in mercenaries. Turkey had mobilized more than 10,000 Syrian mercenaries on the battlefields of Libya. Earlier this year, there were reports that Turkey had hired 100 Pakistani mercenaries to fight alongside its soldiers and proxies in Syria.

The Pakistan-backed militia arrived in Syria to fight alongside the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA), the Eurasian Times reported, citing American journalist Lindsey Snell, who was once abducted by an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria.

Why Syrian Mercenaries?

With Syria's Idlib steadily slipping out of Turkey's control and influence, it has a steady supply of ex-fighters with the Free Syrian Army. The fact that Turkey is smuggling the militia into a conflict zone in Eurasia exposes the reckless geopolitical strategy adopted by Ankara under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.