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Money, Turkish Nationality Draw Syrian Fighters to Libya

Money, Turkish Nationality Draw Syrian Fighters to Libya

Friday, 17 January, 2020 - 12:15
Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters. Reuters file photo

Two thousand Syrian fighters have travelled from Turkey or will arrive imminently to fight on the battlefields of Libya in support of the Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj, Syrian sources in all three countries have told Britain’s The Guardian newspaper.

An initial deployment of 300 men from the so-called National Army left Syria through the Hawar Kilis military border crossing on December 24, followed by 350 more on December 29, it said.

They were then flown to Tripoli, the Libyan capital, where they have been posted to frontline positions, said the report.

Another 1,350 men crossed into Turkey on January 5, the sources told The Guardian.

The fighters have signed six-month contracts directly with the GNA for $2,000 a month, sources said. All have been promised Turkish nationality, they added.

Turkey is also paying medical bills for injured soldiers and is responsible for repatriating the dead to Syria.

“This is a very different situation to Syria,” The Guardian quoted Claudia Gazzini, a senior Libya analyst with the International Crisis Group, as saying.

“Anti-Turkish sentiment is already strong because of Ankara’s intervention and could grow as a result of this.”

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