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Türkiye Sends New Batch of Syrian Mercenaries to Libya

Türkiye Sends New Batch of Syrian Mercenaries to Libya

Friday, 7 October, 2022 - 06:15
Part of a military training for Libyan forces monitored by Turkish officers in the outskirts of Tripoli. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Türkiye has sent a new batch of Syrian mercenaries to Libya, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Thursday.

The war monitor said a Turkish aircraft took off from the capital Ankara carrying Syrian mercenaries which Turkish intelligence recruits. They arrived in Misrata to take part in the Libyan war.

On September 13, the SOHR reported heavy mass discontent among the Syrian mercenaries in Libya due to the discrimination between the commanders and the mercenaries.

This came against the backdrop of delaying the transfer of the corps of a Syrian young man from al-Sultan Murad armed faction to be buried in northwestern Syria, where his family sought refuge.

The Turkish forces kept his body in the refrigerator for nearly a week until the return of several commanders of Turkish-backed factions.

According to the war monitor, Ankara resumed in August the back-and-forth transfer of Syrian mercenaries operating in Libya following the decision in late June to halt the transfer process until the end of 2022.

It revealed that nearly 420 Syrian mercenaries were sent back to Syria from Libya via Türkiye.

A previous SOHR report also stated that the Turkish intelligence asked leaders of the Syrian factions loyal to it to keep their members fully prepared to be transferred to Libya once requested.

Thousands of Turkish forces have been sent to Libya to fight along dozens of mercenaries from armed factions loyal to Türkiye.

This comes in line with the memorandum of understanding on security and military cooperation signed in November 2019 between Türkiye and the Government of National Accord (GNA) then headed by Fayez al-Sarraj.

In this context, Itamilradar, which specializes in monitoring military aircraft movements over Italy and Mediterranean Sea, tracked three Turkish Air Force flights to Misrata.

It reported tracking three flights that took off from Ankara and arrived in Misrata and al-Watiya in western Libya.

Türkiye considers its military presence in Libya “legal.”

Ankara says its presence in Libya is aimed at helping the country establish a unified army that brings together all the forces from the east and west under one umbrella.

The Turkish parliament approved in June to extend the armed forces' mandate in Libya for another 18 months from July 2, at the request of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

It argues that its efforts to build democratic institutions following the February 2011 incidents were in vain due to the armed conflicts that led to the emergence of a fragmented administrative structure in the country.

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