The US and Turkey have reached a breakthrough agreement that will see Syrian mercenaries withdrawing from Libya within two weeks, the Sky News Arabia reported on March 16, citing sources with knowledge on the matter.
According to the UAE-based channel, the agreement was the result of extensive talks between the ambassadors of the US and Turkey in Libya.
“Libyan officials were informed of the agreement’s terms,” one of the sources told Sky News Arabia.
Turkey deployed thousands of Syrian militants in Libya to support its allies in the Government of National Accord. The militants helped repel a large offensive by the Libyan National Army on the capital Tripoli and participated in a series of operations in the country’s western region.
Under the alleged US-Turkish agreement, airliners of the Afriqiyah Airways and Turkish carriers will move Syrian mercenaries from Libya to Turkey over the next two weeks.
A recent report by the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed that around 8,000 Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries are still in Libya.
The intra-Libyan agreement reached on October 23 of 2020 stated that all foreign militants should leave Libya in three months. The deadline ended on January 23. However, Turkey continued to deploy Syrians in the country.
Now, the political process in Libya is in full motion. The interim government was recently approved by parliament and sworn in. Turkey’s allies in Libya are no longer in full control. This explains why Ankara would accept the US demands now.
If the agreement is confirmed, it will be a heavy blow to Turkey. The withdrawal of Syrian militants will undermine Ankara’s long-term project in the country.
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