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Russia recruiting Palestinians in Lebanon to fight against Ukraine

Recruitment targets younger Palestinian refugees without proper Lebanese paperwork

Tributes and political slogans hang on the walls of Shatila Palestinian camp in Beirut, Lebanon, Jan. 13, 2023. (Photo: Elisa Gestri/Sipa USA)

Palestinian refugees from Lebanon are being paid by Russia to enlist in their army, according to a report released on Tuesday by The Media Line.

A Lebanese government official said the recruitment efforts are reportedly being conducted by affiliates of the Palestinian Embassy in Lebanon. 

Because Palestinians born in Lebanon after 1969 are not properly registered with the Lebanese government, it is difficult for their movements to be tracked, the official said.

Russia is allegedly offering a monthly salary of $350 for Palestinian refugees to join Russian forces in the war against Ukraine. Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Iranian proxy terrorist group, may reportedly be involved in the recruitment efforts as well, looking for recruits who are proficient in drone operation and urban warfare. 

The majority of the Palestinian recruits being sent to the front lines in Ukraine are reportedly from the Ein Al-Khalwa refugee camp, the biggest camp for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. In addition, many are affiliated with the Fatah party, which is led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. 

Abbas recently strengthened ties with Russia and last year stated that the United States cannot be trusted to be “the sole party in resolving a problem.” 

The Russian military may be directly conducting the recruiting efforts, however, it's possible that an affiliate, such as the Wagner private mercenary group, a Russian paramilitary organization, is involved.

Dr. Riad Kahwaji, a prominent Lebanese consultant for security and defense affairs, said the successful recruitment of Palestinians is “not surprising” as the “situation in the camps is miserable.” 

As Russia’s war effort in Ukraine drags on, with the government unleashing “a wave of repression,” jailing its own citizens for the slightest hints of criticism, Russia may find that  recruiting foreign soldiers at a cheaper price is a way to continue the fight.

The Media Line report indicated that some 300 individuals may have already completed military training in Russia, with another 100 preparing to begin.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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