DUSHANBE, January 22, 2014, Asia-Plus – An article by Rami Suwaid, posted on an independent Arabic online newspaper Elaph, says that the 9-year-old Tajik boy Ahmad participates in the fighting in Syria.

The article says that in addition to his native Tajik, Ahmad also speaks Turkish, Arabic and Russian.  He reportedly acts as interpreter for militants from Chechnya (Russia), Turkey and other countries who arrived in Syria to fight on the side of antigovernment forces.

The author notes that in his spare time Ahmad plays with children of his age.

According to the article, many small and large training grounds have been set up in various regions of Syria at which children and teens are being trained.

The author stresses that children and teens from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Malaysia are currently fighting in Syria on the side of rebel forces.

Meanwhile a senior official at Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Sergey Smirnov, recently stated that mercenaries from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member nations are fighting in Syria on the side of the antigovernment forces.          

We will recall that the Supreme Court of Tajikistan last month sentenced five of the country''s citizens to around two years in jail for fighting on the side of antigovernment forces in Syria.

According to Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reports, the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) said on December 24 that the five were students at the Syrian International University who decided to join Syrian rebel forces.

All five were detained in October when they returned to Tajikistan.  Since Tajikistan does not have a law against “mercenaries,” the five were charged with “participation in a criminal group or in other armed groups.”

Earlier this year, there were reports several Tajik nationals were killed in fighting in Syria.