Agenda item 6(a)
International cooperation and technical assistance to prevent and address all forms of crime:
terrorism in all its forms and manifestations
With a view of the discussions under agenda item 6 (a) of the 14th United Nations Congress on
Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, entitled “International cooperation and technical
assistance to prevent and address all forms of crime: Terrorism in all its forms and
manifestations” the delegation of the Republic of Armenia would like to invite the attention of the
distinguished delegates of the UN Member States to the following:
The threat of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations has always been and continues to remain
at the center of international cooperative efforts, and there exists a developed international toolkit
– a sophisticated and robust international legal framewok with a number of conventions, UN
General Assembly and Security Council Resolutions on countering terrorism. At the same time,
no matter how robust the existing mechanisms and instruments are, we continue to suffer from this
scourge, since terrorism constantly evolves and transforms in pace with the development of our
societies. Its increasingly transnational nature requires cooperation at all levels – bilateral, regional
and international – to prevent and combat terrorism.
Another factor that considerably impacts the international efforts to combat terrorism is the
dynamics of international relations, and trends and developments of the international system.
Notably, in recent years the issue of foreign terrorist fighters and their use as guns-for-hire and
mercenaries in various conflict situations received a particular relevance requiring urgent response
from the international community.
While the issue of foreign terrorist fighters primarily emerged due to the radicalization of
individuals, mostly in the developed countries and their subsequent travel to conflict zones,
currently we are witnessing the rapid evolution of the concept of FTFs, particularly in the wider
region of the Middle East, which has long been affected by armed conflicts.
The institutionalization of foreign terrorist fighters has given rise to the new form of FTFs, i.e. use
of them as mercenaries in some conflict situations. The latters are being recruited in different parts
of the volatile region of the wider Middle East, trained and subsequently deployed to conflict areas
as proxy armies to advance the foreign policy objectives of certain states.
Notably, illegal recruitment centers are established and operate in the war-torn countries of the
Middle East, which carry out massive recruitment of foreign terrorist fighters with affiliations to
well known terrorist organizations, such as the ISIL, Al-Qaida, Al- Nusra Front.
In some cases this recruitment scheme includes also a number of other criminal dimensions such
as smuggling and trafficking in persons, since prospective FTFs are recruited also from among
vulnerable groups, such as people living in refugee camps.
In order to prepare those foreign terrorist fighters for a proper engagement as mercenaries in the
armed conflicts a number of clandestine training bases have been established, in particular in the
territory of the transit country or the country of origin to carry out necessary training of the FTFs
before their deployment to the area of armed conflict. 2
Starting from summer of 2020 Turkey backed companies and groups were engaged in recruitment
of foreign terrorist fighters in the Syrian Afrin region, who were then smuggled, either in small
groups, using civilian vehicles, or in large numbers on board of airplane, through international
borders to travel from their country of origin through the transit country – Turkey – to the place of
the final deployment in the third country – Azerbaijan – to engage in the war launched on September
27, 2020 by Azerbaijan and Turkey against the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and its
people (Please, see the full factsheet in the Annex).
Between July to September, 2020, around 4000 foreign terrorist fighters were transported to
Azerbaijan, mainly members of the Sultan Murad brigade, Hamza division, Sham Legion.
Azerbaijan and Turkey recruited, financed, trained and relocated foreign terrorist fighters to
Azerbaijan and integrated them into the ranks of the armed forces of Azerbaijan.
In some cases the terrorist fighters were deceived regarding the purpose of their transfer to the
final destination, as well as were offered financial benefits, clearly abusing their vulnerable
situation in the refugee camps, which is a crime with many elements of human trafficking and
represents the convergence of two distinct crimes, i.e. terrorism and trafficking in persons.
In order to successfully carry out the above-mentioned operations, necessary financial and
logistical support was provided through different persons and organizations involved in bulk cash
smuggling and money laundering, as well as abusing the non-profit organizations of social,
cultural and charitable character.
The foreign terrorist fighters engaged as mercenaries in the armed conflict were provided with
necessary weapons and ammunition, which is a clear case of diversion of small arms and light
weapons to the terrorists.
Those actions have been carried out in gross violation of all international norms and obgligations,
including the UN General Assembly Resolutions and UN Security Council resolution 2178, 2396,
2368, 2462, 2482, 2498, 2544 and other relevant resolutions on counter terrorism and counter
terrorism financing, the International Convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terrorism,
UN Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries, as well as
other relevant international conventions against terrorism.
Against this backdrop, Armenia strongly believes that more robust international cooperation is
required to identify, prosecute, and punish those who have been engaged in planning and
perpetration of such crimes, including facilitating the foreign terrorist fighters engagement in the
armed conflict. We need to make sure that the existing international mechanisms and networks are
well prepared and adapted to promptly react to such evolution and transformation of terrorism and
the concept of foreign terrorist fighters in particular.
In this context, Armenia welcomes the Kyoto Declaration, which extensively addresses the crime
of terrorism, including the need “to prevent and tackle financial and logistical support to terrorism
in all its forms and manifestations and prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons, in compliance
with obligations under applicable international law”.
Armenia is ready to work with all interested international partners to strengthen our joint and
shared responsibility and efforts to fight the scourge of terrorism all over the world and bring those
who are complicit to this hineous crime to jsutice.
Fact-sheet on the use of FTFs by Azerbaijan and Turkey in the war unleashed by
Azerbaijan against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) since September 27, 2020
1. The non-exhaustive list of information and evidence regarding the involvement of foreign
terrorist fighters (FTFs) in the war:
• A large number of islamist militants that have fought in Syria have been transported from
Turkey to Nakhijevan (Azerbaijan) in February-March 2020 through various routes. A
large group of islamists have been located in Sumgayit wandering in the city dressed in
similar clothes as the islamist fighters in northern part of Syria.
• According to the information obtained in May 2020, a large number of islamist militants,
who had fought in Syria, have been transferred to Khelech village of Nakhijevan and
surrounding settlements. They were transported to Nakhijevan from the territory of Turkey.
• Several recruitment bureaus were opened in northern Syria in areas under the control of
Turkish forces in order to attract young males and turn them into mercenaries fighting
abroad, including the following bureaus:
o Afrin bureau in northern Aleppo
o A bureau under Al-Hamzat Division’s supervision
o A bureau run by “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiyyah”
o A bureau run by Al-Mu’tasem Division in Qibariyyah village.
o A bureau under Liwaa Al-Shamal’s supervision in Al-Mahmoudiyyah
• In August 2020, members of terrorist groups had been recruited from the Syrian regions of
Afrin and Idlib in order to be relocated to Azerbaijan and Libya under the command of 35
commanders. Each transferred fighter has been promised 1500-2500 USD monthly
payment. Turkey has offered extra services warranted by the country they were fighting in,
as well as granting Turkish citizenship.
• Once a week, each Saturday, groups from the FTF recruiting stations in Afrin were
transported to Azerbaijan and Libya. Recruitment offices have been also operating in
Syria’s A`zaz region to dispatch fighters to Azerbaijan.
• The logistics were handled by SADAT, a Turkish private defence contractor owned by
Adnan Tanriverdi, former chief military counsellor of the President of Turkey. A person
called Khalid Turkmani Abo Suleiman, a Turkoman commander from the Sultan Murad
faciton has acted as liaison between the SADAT and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh.
• Members of terrorist groups were first transferred to Turkey and then to Azerbaijan,
traveling normally in groups of 10 to 15 persons. A military base was established in the
Antakya region of Turkey serving as a gathering point for terrorist groups to be dispatched
• 250-300 Uyghur mercenaries travelled to Azerbaijan in mid-September from Turkey’s
Antakya airport, along with their families.
• On September 22, 2020, an office for the recruitment of terrorist fighters was set up within
the territories of Syria which are under the control of Turkey, at the Taftanaz military
Airbase, in order to transfer them to Azerbaijan. The terrorist fighters were selected from 4
among Syrian refugees, local and foreign fighters and transferred to Azerbaijan. It was
planned to transfer to Azerbaijan 3 groups, comprising 1000 fighters each. The fighters
have been offered 1800 USD monthly in exchange for engaging in military operations
against Armenians on the side of Azerbaijan for a three-month term. It was planned to send
a group of 1000 fighters to Turkey and, subsequently, to Azerbaijan in three phases, within
the period from 27 to 30 September 2020. Additionally, a group of 150 suicide terrorists
capable of making hand-made explosive devices and determined to carry out any terrorist
act has been transferred to Azerbaijan on September 30, 2020.
• A group, mainly consisting of fighters from “Sultan Murad Brigade” terrorist faction, has
been transported from Bülbül settlement of the Syrian Afrin region (bordering with
Turkey) to Turkey on September 23 for subsequent transfer to Azerbaijan.
• In September 2020, approximately 1000 fighters recruited from different terrorist groups
were taking military training in the military base located in the El-Bab province of Syria.
The training was terminated on September 25, 2020, after which (in early October) all
fighters were transferred to Turkey and then to Azerbaijan.
• On September 28, 2020, approximately 1000 fighters from “Syrian National Army”
travelled to Azerbaijan from one of the airports [located] in the vicinity of the Kilis city of
• On September 28, 2020, the leader of one of the Syrian opposition groups had informed
that around 150 fighters from groups associated with the “Jabhat Al-Nusrah” terrorist
organization’s core unit, had been transported to Azerbaijan via Turkey.
• Fighters who have already taken part in the hostilities on the line of contact between the
Karabakh and Azerbaijan, were sending messages to their relatives and comrades-in-arms
urging them to be cautious when agreeing to travel to Azerbaijan “as they cannot imagine
what a hell was happening on the battlefield”. They were telling that the Azerbaijani armed
forces are sending them to the most dangerous areas of the battle.
• Some of fighters sent to Azerbaijan were not even aware that Azerbaijan is a Shia muslim
country, and discovering this fact prompted many fighters to abandon the battlefields and
return to Syria.
• Syrian mercenaries have been deceived on many occasions, as those mercenaries sent to
Azerbaijan were told that they would be kept away from military operations and their tasks
would be confined to guarding Azerbaijani oil installations which had contracts with
Turkey. Accordingly, they were transported to Turkey, then to Azerbaijan, but later found
out that they were thrown into violent clashes on the frontlines in Nagorno-Karabakh.
• A representative of the “Syrian National Army” had issued a fatwa classifying the fighting
in Azerbaijan as Jihad (collective duty in Islam).
• On September 30, 2020, conversations of the Azerbaijani side regarding the course of
hostilities were intercepted providing evidence on the Turkish involvement in the conflict
both in terms of the use of military aviation as well as in the context of the Arab-speaking
and Turkoman terrorist fighters’ participation. Azerbaijani and Arabic conversations have
also been recorded, whereby Azerbaijani servicemen and commanders spoke of the
situation in combat positions, exhaustion of Turkomans’ ammunitions, the wounded
among them and assistance provided to them. One of the Azerbaijanis instructed his
interlocutor to hand over the communication device to Mahmud from among the
• During hostilities in Artsakh two Syrian arab fighters were wounded and taken hostage and
during their interrogation provided ample information and evidence on the process of their
recruitment and engagement in the conflict. The following were the conditions of their
deployment in Azerbaijan: 5
o Mission stated during recruitment – security, monitoring (particularly, protection of
the oil infrastructure);
o Salary – 1500-2500 USD/monthly
o Term – six-month (with the option to be renewed once), rotation after 6 months.
o Age requirements for candidates – 18-40.
o The majority of volunteers were recruited from the following groups: “Sultan
Murad”, “Sultan Suleyman Shah” and “Al-Hamza”.
o In some cases, people from refugee camps in Syria were also recruited. Due to the
harsh living conditions in Northern Syria, the core motivation for their recruitment
was the relatively high payment.
o Recruitment was held in centers located in the northern part of the Aleppo province
which were under control of the “Sultan Murad”, “Sultan Suleyman Shah” and “Al-
Hamza”. Several terrorist fighters were also registered in the Hawar Kilis military
base (on the Syrian-Turkish border).
o The recruited persons were transported from the north of Syria to Turkey, from
where they went by plane to Azerbaijan.
• One of the hostage foreign terrorist fighters also informed during the interrogation that in
Azerbaijan when they were thrown into the battlfield they were promised to be paid
additional 100 USD for each chopped head of an Armenian
2. The criminal mechanisms used to recruit and transport FTFs from Syria to Turkey and
afterwords to Azerbaijan to participate in the armed aggression of Azerbaijan against the
people of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh):
• illegal recruitment centers were operating in different areas, mostly in northern part of
• the recruited terrorist fighters took military trainings in different military bases and camps
in northern Syria and in the territory of Turkey;
• the recruited mercenaries passed state borders of Syria, Turkey and Azerbaijan, most
probably through different smuggling mechanisms, either in small groups, using civilian
vehicles, or in large numbers on board of airplane;
• in some cases the mercenaries were deceived regarding the purpose of their transfer to
Azerbaijan, as well as offering financial benefits, abusing their vulnerable situation in the
refugee camps in northern Syria;
• bulk cash flows and money laundering schemes were beyond any reasonable doubt
employed in order to provide financial and logistical support for the recruitment and
transfer of mercenaries to the conflict zone and to engage them in the armed conflict on the
side of the armed forces of Azerbaijan;
• the FTFs, who were used as mercenaries, engaged in the armed conflict and were provided
with necessary weapons and ammunition, which is a clear case of diversion of small arms
and light weapons to terrorists.