But this is not a movie script. This actually happened in September and October, when 267 Russian mercenaries, the \”Slavonic Corps,\” were hired to fight against Syrian rebels between Homs and Deir Ez Zor. Their employer told them that the mission had been cleared by the Russian Federal Security Services FSB and they were initially under the impression that the Syrian president, Bashar al Assad, was hiring them to protect oil assets. Upon arrival in Syria, the mercenaries were told that their employers were private individuals, not the Syrian government, and the weapons they were told they\’d be given, including T-72 tanks, were replaced by antiquated tanks that didn\’t run, and by makeshift armored vehicles with machine guns. Also, they soon learned that instead of guarding oil fields, they were supposed to be recapturing them from jihadists. The mission fell apart during the first sign of combat, and the Russians fled the warzone. When they touched down in Russia, however, the same FSB that they thought had OK\’d the plan in the first place denied any knowledge of the operation and arrested two of the businessmen responsible for the operation.
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