Palestinians living in refugee camps are being paid $350 to fight for Russia in Ukraine: report

Palestinians living in refugee camps are being paid 0 to fight for Russia in Ukraine: report
A view of the Ein El Hilweh refugee camp

A view of the Ein El Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon.Bilal Hussein/AP Photo

  • Palestinians living in Lebanese refugee camps are being recruited to fight for Russia in Ukraine.

  • The Jerusalem Post reported that some 300 refugees had already been deployed.

  • They are being offered $350, a monthly stipend, and compensation to their families, the report said.

Palestinians living in sprawling refugee camps in Lebanon have been offered $350 to fight for Russia in Ukraine, according to The Jerusalem Post, which cited a Lebanese government security source and reporting from independent news agency The Media Line.

Recruits are also being given a monthly stipend and compensation for their families in exchange for agreeing to fight on Russia’s behalf, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The majority of Palestinians being deployed to Ukraine came from the largest Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon, Ein El Hilweh Camp, the report said. Ein El Hilweh has a population of about 80,000 people, according to a 2017 UN estimate.

It’s not clear how many Palestinians have been recruited to date, but the publication reported that about 300 had already completed training and been deployed. Another 100 or so from the camp are being prepared for deployment, the newspaper said.

Recruits from Ein El Hilweh are predominantly members of Fatah, a political party led by Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, per The Jerusalem Post. Others belong to another major Palestinian political party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the newspaper said.

The majority of those being recruited do not have proper registration with Lebanese authorities, making it easier for them to travel and harder for the government to track them, per The Jerusalem Post.

The Internal Security Forces of Lebanon did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

It’s not clear who’s behind the recruitment drive, with The Jerusalem Post suggesting it could be in coordination with activists associated with the Palestinian Embassy in Lebanon, or the Shia Islamist militant group Hezbollah.

Insider was unable to independently verify these claims.

But it is known that Russia has previously recruited Syrian volunteers to fight in Ukraine. Russian mercenary group Wagner has also recruited fighters internationally, according to Voice of America News.

Riad Kahwaji, a Dubai-based security analyst, told The Media Line that Russia recruiting Palestinian refugees to fight in Ukraine wouldn’t be surprising.

“I do not have specific information on this subject, but I am not surprised that it happened because the situation in the camps is miserable‚Ķ and there are no jobs for young people,” Kahwaji said.

Refugee camp residents suffer from high levels of unemployment and poverty, with many depending on the UN and NGOs for services including housing, healthcare, and education.

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