AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Five Afghan refugees killed in the Syrian civil war by rebels were buried in Iran, media reported on Friday.
The refugees were recruited by the Iranian authorities to support the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad against the west-supported rebels.
According to Radio Farda, the killed Afghan mercenaries aged between 19 to 21 years. The Afghans were part of the group that Iran has sent to Syria. They were buried in Damavand and Tehran. Media reports suggest that around 3,500 Afghans were fighting for Assad in August. The Iranian authorities promised nationality for those Afghan refugees who were ready to die for Assad. Each mercenary receives $700 per month.
In April this year, a video from Syria has gone viral on media where four Afghans were purportedly shown by the Syrian rebels. Two teenage boys are seen among those taken hostage by the rebels during clashes. The group was dispatched by the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
The men in the video speak in Dari—one of the two officials languages in Afghanistan. They blamed unemployment as the main driving factor behind their decision to join Iran’s proxy war in the Middle East. Since Iran and Saudi Arabia have locked horns in the Middle East for political maneuvering therefore in a new escalation of its sectarian involvement in Syria, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps is reportedly training and dispatching scores of Afghan refugees to fight alongside President’s Bashar al-Assad forces. According to media reports scores have been killed and wounded this year.
The driving force that goads them on joining Assad’s forces is that Iran’s government has offered them permanent residency in Iran and other benefits. Syria’s sectarian rift, between a Shiite axis of Iran, Assad and Hezbollah, and rebel groups backed by Sunni Arab governments, has caused thousands of deaths and rendered millions homeless.
There are about 2.5 million Afghans living in Iran, a third of them registered refugees and the remainder economic migrants. The use of Afghan refugees as elements of proxy war, is likely to have serious fallouts for Afghanistan—a country which has already been gripped by serious militancy. Iran’s meddling in Afghanistan has oft-times slammed but in the recent years Tehran started scaling back its intrusion inside Afghanistan but found a new opportunity in Afghan refugees living on its soil by sending them to Syria to safeguard its own foreign policy objectives.