Turkey is preparing to deploy around 330 Syrian militants in Libya despite recent reports of a near Turkish withdrawal from the war-torn country, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on October 8.
The London-based monitoring group said that the Syrian militants entered Turkey on two batches over the last few days. The militants will be replacing some 420 others who recently returned to Syria after completing their deployment in Libya.
According to the SOHR, which has been monitoring the deployment of Turkish-backed Syrian militants in Libya since 2019, some 7,000 militants are currently present in Libya. The militants, who fought for Turkey’s allies in Libya, are deployed in the western region, mainly around the capital Tripoli.
Last month, several reports, some by the SOHR, said that Turkey is preparing to withdraw a large part of its proxies from Libya. Later, the monitoring group warned that Turkey may stage a “fake” withdrawal before the December 24 Libyan general election.
Libya’s Joint Military Committee 5 + 5 is reportedly finalizing a plan in Geneva to expel all foreign mercenaries from the country ahead of the highly-anticipated elections.
Turkey, who sees its military presence in Libya as a major political gain, may not comply with the Libyan decision to expel foreign forces from the country. Ankara will likely push its allies in Libya to challenge the decision.
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