A twit offering a reward for the capture of Russian soldiers in Syria has been posted on a Twitter account owned by the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda's official branch in Syria, reports Newsweek.

According to Abu Hassan al-Kuwaiti, a prominent spiritual leader and financier of the Nusra Front, one million Syrian pounds ($5,300) will be paid ‘to the heroic Mujahideen brothers… who take hostage a Russian soldier’”.

Michael Horowitz, an Israeli expert on the Middle East, puts the reward offer down to the desire of the Nusra Front to lure to its side newly recruited Mujahideen militants from countries of the former USSR. According to Horowitz, a war against Russian soldiers, like the one in Afghanistan, is a powerful incentive for jihadis groups all around Syria to join their efforts.

“Nusra will most certainly try to… gain momentum in the deadly competition with Islamic State [ISIS],” said Horowitz.

In a video released last Friday and addressed to the Russian soldiers, Abdullah al-Muhaysini, a Saudi militant based in Syria, warned that Syria would become a ‘graveyard for invaders’. The militant recalled the Russian failure in Afghanistan, promising that the Levant (a collective name for countries in eastern Mediterranean, and more specifically Syria, Palestine and Lebanon) would stand up to the Russian soldiers.