Skip to main content

Arabic press review: Russia to recruit Syrian mercenaries to 'fight in Ukraine'

Meanwhile, Israel and the United Arab Emirates strengthen economic ties and Egyptian authorities raise Suez Canal transit fees
Police officers remove the body of a passerby killed in an apparent Russian air strike on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv's main television tower, 2 March 2022 (AFP)

Russia to recruit Syrians for Ukraine war

Syrian opposition sources have said that Russia is preparing to recruit "mercenaries" from Syria to support its forces in their invasion of Ukraine, according to Arabi21.

"Russia started to spread news, through its delegates, regarding granting the chance to those wishing to fight in Ukraine," Syrian journalist Ahmad Obeid is quoted as saying.

Russia-Ukraine war: How Putin is using lessons learned in Syria
Read More »

Obeid said that "the aim of spreading this news is to measure reactions", noting that "Russia has started security studies of the potential areas of recruiting of the Syrians".

Obeid said that the Russian delegates, who previously worked to recruit Syrians to fight in Libya, were talking about monthly salaries equal to the salaries soldiers in Libya received ($2,000).

Abdul Aziz al-Khatib, another Syrian journalist, told Arabi21: "In fact, hundreds of Syrian fighters have joined the Russian 'Wagner Group' militia, which makes this news very likely to be true."

Khatib added: "Russia sent Syrian fighters to Libya, and to Venezuela as well, so it is with a greater reason that it sends them to fight close to its borders as well - that is, in Ukraine." 

Israel to be among top 10 partners to UAE

A senior Emirati official has said that Israel will become one of the top 10 partners to the United Arab Emirates over the next decade, according to New Khalij.

At a Dubai-Israel conference this week, Strengthening Economic Links, organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Hamad Buamim, CEO of the chamber, said: "If everything goes as planned, this goal can be achieved within five years. 

'Israeli companies have advanced expertise in vital and future fields such as technology, food security, IT and financial services'

- Hamad Buamim, Dubai Chamber of Commerce

"The Israeli and Emirati governments are conducting advanced negotiations on a free-trade agreement, which we hope to be achieved before summer," Buamim said.

He said that "Israeli companies have advanced expertise in vital and future fields such as technology, food security, information technology and financial services", noting that the visit of the Israeli delegation came at a time when Dubai was enhancing its openness to global markets.

During the conference, Ittai Ben-Zeev, CEO of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, pointed to the increase in trade between Israel and the UAE during the next 12 months.

"This cooperation will encourage Israeli companies to deal with the UAE and form cooperation in other markets," Ben-Zeev said. "The United Arab Emirates is only the first step in a long journey." 

The conference included a visit by a delegation of 50 representatives of more than 25 Israeli companies listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Egypt raises Suez Canal tariffs

The Egyptian government has raised fees for ships passing through the Suez Canal, considered one of the world's most important waterways, by up to 10 percent, according to the London-based al-Araby al-Jadeed newspaper.

Egypt: Record cargo shipped through Suez Canal last year
Read More »

The Suez Canal Authority said the increases were in line with significant growth in global trade, securing "the development of the canal and the improvement of the transit service".

According to the authority, transit fees for carriers of liquefied gas, chemicals and other liquid materials had increased by 10 percent.

The authority said that transit fees for ships transporting vehicles, natural gas and general cargo, as well as multi-purpose ships, would rise by seven percent, while a five percent increase would be levied on carriers of petroleum derivatives, crude oil and dry bulk ships.

Approximately 10 percent of world trade, including seven percent of world oil shipments, goes through the Suez Canal, which is a major source of foreign currency in Egypt.

*Arabic press review is a digest of news reports not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.