Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries in Libya are faking illness in order to return to their country, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on May 27.
According to the London-based monitoring group, the mercenaries are doing this because Turkey has not withdrawn any group from Libya in a while.
“A small number of mercenaries returned to Syria after they provided medical reports and falsified some of them by bribing the leaders of Turkish-backed factions, amid widespread discontent among the Turkish-backed mercenaries in Libya, as their return to Syria still suspended,” the SOHR’s report reads.
Turkey deployed thousands of its Syrian proxies in Libya between 2019 and 2020 to support its allies in the now-defunct Government of National Accord.
The last batch of Syrian mercenaries to return from Libya was on March 25. According to the SOHR, more than 6,630 mercenaries are still in the war-torn country.
Recently, a number of reports revealed that the US was in talks with Turkey to resolve the issue of Syrian mercenaries in Libya. Egypt was also pressuring Turkey over this issue. Cairo reportedly demanded a complete Turkish withdrawal from Libya during recent talks.
Despite all of these efforts and the recent progress in the intra-Libyan political process, Turkey is not backing down. Ankara appears to be planning to stay in Libya for the long-term. Syrian mercenaries are a key part of these plans.
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