A report on two Russians captured by terrorists of the "Islamic state" banned in Russia during an attack on a checkpoint in the vicinity of the city of Ash Shola, the agency Amaq, operating as the press service of the IG, circulated on September 28. Video confirmation appeared five days later, on October 2. On the 37-second recording - two haggard, battered men, one of whom appears himself, names the name of his comrade, tells how they were in the hands of terrorists.
To date, it is reliably known that IGIL has captured 38-year-old Roman Vasilievich Zabolotny, a native of the Rostov region, and 39-year-old Grigory Mikhailovich Tsurkanu, a native of the Moscow region.
Both Zabolotniy and Turcanu are contractors of a private military company known as the "Wagner PMC".
About Zabolotny it is known that he arrived in Syria in May, after two months of training on the base near the Molkino farm in the Krasnodar Territory (there are training grounds for military unit 51532, known as the "10th brigade of the GRU special forces." - I.M. .).
Turcanu is a contract veteran. His first business trip to Syria took place in September 2013.
Visitors to the popular Tema bar in Moscow hardly suspected that in the same building, located at Potapovsky Pereulok, house 5, directly above the bar, was the office of a private military company, Moran Security Group, engaged in recruiting personnel, organizing their training and protecting marine ships in pirate-dangerous regions of the World Ocean.
It was here, in the house number 5 on Potapovsky Lane in the summer of 2013 arrived Grigory Turcanu, who knew about the set of guards to accompany the sea vessels.
But a strong guy, who had been on urgent service in the airborne reconnaissance service, was offered another job. More money. And he agreed.
The matter is that in the summer of 2013, the Moran Security Group received an offer from the Syrian Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources to recruit, train and send "specialists" from Syria to protect oil production, transportation and refining facilities.
Having evaluated all the risks, the company decided not to contact the official Damascus. But I did not refuse the contract altogether. Several managers of the Moran Security Group registered Slavonic Corps Limited ("Slavonic Corps") in Hong Kong, and already this company, although at the office of Moran Security Group, recruited 267 volunteers under a contract with the Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources of Syria.
Among the first 267 volunteers was Grigory Turcanu.
By the way, in this group there was also the future commander of "PWC Wagner" - Dmitry Utkin.
Retired lieutenant colonel Utkin signed a contract with Moran Security Group after the dismissal of the commander of the 700th separate special forces squad of the 2nd separate special purpose brigade of the GRU stationed in Pechora, Pskov region. He was taken to work immediately, without test selection and immediately - as the commander of the escort team. And before going to Syria, Dmitry Utkin managed to work out several tasks on escorting sea vessels in pirate-dangerous areas.
In September 2013, 267 volunteers of the "Slavic Corps" reached Syria via Lebanese Beirut. In Latakia, they placed a training center near the local port.
Only having reached Syria, many have learned that before they began to protect "oil production, transportation and refining facilities", these same objects still had to be repelled from the militants.
But the first battle of the "Slavic Corps" was the last one.
On October 13, the "Slavic Corps", divided into two companies - "Cossack" and "Slavic" - loaded into the self-made armor plated Hyundai buses and JMC jeeps and headed toward the oil fields in the Deir ez Zor area.
October 17, 2013 in the province of Homs, in the area of the city of Sakhna "Slavic Corps" was ambushed. The fighters dispersed, occupied a circular defense, even managed to dig in and for several hours fought off the furious attack of several thousand militants who tried to surround the Russians.
- So would have fallen there all - says one of the participants in the fight. - We have already almost all the backs shot ... But a sandstorm struck. A few meters away they did not see each other. Dima Utkin, commander of the "Slavic" company, led his boys to breakthrough hand-to-hand, they say, otherwise we'll die all here. The "Cossacks" also rushed behind the "Slavs". But the storm scared the "blacks," they missed our breakthrough. So we went to Sukhn. And six "three hundred" (wounded - Ed.) Took out, two of them were heavy.
"Already in Latakia, it turned out that one of the" Cossacks "- Lesha Malyut - lost a tablet with documents. Igilovtsy then trumpeted that in Syria the Russians are fighting. "
"Slavic Corps" was urgently evacuated to Russia. Two planes that landed in Vnukovo, surrounded by soldiers of the special unit of the FSB "Alfa", all the contract soldiers were detained. For the two leaders of the Slavic Corps Vadim Gusev (concurrently deputy director of the Moran Security Group) and Yevgeny Sidorov (personnel officer Moran Security Group), the voyage to Syria ended in criminal cases and verdicts with real terms under Article 359 of the Criminal Code ("Mercenaries"). The rest, among whom was Grigory Turcanu, got off with "preventive talks".
On September 5, 2017, the Ministry of Defense issued a press release stating that "from the side of the frigate Admiral Essen, carrying out tasks as part of a permanent operational connection of the Russian Navy to the Mediterranean," launches of sea-launched cruise missiles "Caliber" were carried out against the targets of a terrorist grouping IGIL in the vicinity of the village of Deir-ez-Zor. The blow was struck at a fortified area in the vicinity of the city of Ash Shola, which was being held by a bandit consisting mainly of militants from the CIS countries, including Russia. "
The militants left Ash Sholu, located on the Deir ez Zor - Palmyra road, a subdivision of the Syrian army and the division of the airborne assault company "PMC Wagner" entered the town.
But on September 28, IGIL launched a large-scale counter-offensive, calling it "the gas vassal of Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani," almost simultaneously attacking checkpoints throughout the section of the Palmyra-Deir-ez-Zor road.
Our sources claim that the counterattack was organized by Fedayeen (former employees of Saddam Hussein's special services). And directly the military actions were preceded by separate talks between the leaders of the Kurdish paramilitary groups Peshmerga and the leaders of the Saddam Fedayev, the most professional and combat-capable part of the IGIL.
The former vice-president of Iraq, Tariq Hashimi, allegedly acting as mediator in the negotiations, who is known to have fled from Iraq to Kurdistan in December 2011, in order to avoid arrest for the organization of "death squads". Then he moved to Saudi Arabia, and from there to Turkey. On 9 September 2012, the Iraqi court sentenced Hashimi to death in absentia.
"Fedayeen Saddam" - originally a volunteer militia, created by the son of Saddam Hussein Udeem in 1995. During the US military operation in Iraq, it was the fedaines who fought the most fierce resistance of the American army. Subsequently, Fedayeen went underground, and after the formation of the IG joined the militants, ensuring the military successes of this terrorist organization both in Iraq and in Syria.
According to our source, the negotiations were successful. We agreed that the Kurds would stop "bothering" IGIL for a while, and IGIL would transfer forces to Deir-ez-Zor. The goal is to prevent the Syrian government army reinforced by the Wagner PMs and groups of the Russian Special Operations Forces, with the support of the Russian Air Force and the Syrian Air Force on the left bank of the Euphrates River, and take control of the Umar and Tanak oil fields, where IGIL daily extracts up to 20,000 barrels oil. In the long term, these deposits should go under the control of the Kurds. "Faddainam Saddam" in return promised an amnesty.
On September 28, mobile Fedayeen groups attacked checkpoints on the Palmyra-Deir-ez-Zor highway. The Syrians quickly retreated, abandoning the Wagnerites. Support from the air, too, almost was not, because IGIL attacked checkpoints simultaneously in several dozen points.
Russian Su-25 attack aircraft only managed to land at the airbase of Khmeimim, refuel, load ammunition and immediately flew again.
As a result of the rapid attack, the militants captured several settlements along the route, including Esh Sholu, where Roman Zabolotny and Grigory Turcanu were captured.
Victims of oil ambitions
As early as June 26, the Internet newspaper Fontanka published documents, from which it follows that the oil fields controlled by IGIL, after the liberation of these territories from the militants will be mastered by the Russian LLC "Euro Polis".
Between Euro Polis LLC and the Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources of Syria in December 2016 a memorandum was signed according to which "Euro policy" undertakes to release the "oil and gas fields, processing factories, other objects of oil and gas infrastructure" seized by terrorists, and then to protect them . Syria undertakes to pay off with LLC "Euro Polis", listing the company a quarter of the revenues from the exempted deposits. And besides, Syria has pledged to pay separately for the costs of fighting for the liberation of oil and gas fields.
LLC "Euro Polis" launched a vigorous activity in Syria, having opened its office in Damascus in May.
"Fontanka" found out that "Euro policy" is a company affiliated with the famous St. Petersburg businessman Evgeny Prigozhin.
By the middle of summer, it was already obvious that the aircraft of the Russian military command and control center and the MTR group had seriously damaged IGIL, whose combat capabilities were greatly skewed. Our sources, both in Syria and in the Ministry of Defense, argue that the command of the Russian group in Syria was not going to force the unlocking of Deir ez Zor and carry out hostilities on the left bank of the Euphrates. It was planned to bet on cleansing the already liberated territories from militants who had gone underground, to strengthen negotiating work with those with whom it was still possible to negotiate.
But the summer activation of Peshmerga and the so-called "Syrian Democratic Army", which the United States and Europe consider an opposition to Bashar Assad, made a correction to the plans of the command of the Russian military group in Syria. We do not know who lobbied forcing the De-er-Zor unlocking. Either this is a Syrian military-political leadership, or an influential representative of the Russian establishment, but events began to develop according to the worst scenario for Russia. Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov and Colonel Valery Fedyanin were killed. IGIL seized the Wagnerites of Roman Zabolotny and Grigory Turcanu.