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MARCH 2021

Turkey Is Still Deploying Syrian Mercenaries In Libya: Monitoring Group

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Turkey is still transporting Syrian mercenaries back and forth from Libya, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on January 23.

More than 18,000 Syrian militants have been deployed by Turkey in Libya to support the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) since late 2019. Thousands have so far returned to their country. However, many others are still deployed there.

“The returning group often consists of 100 to 250 mercenaries, and similar numbers are going to Libya,” the SOHR said in a report.

According to the monitoring group, some Syrian mercenaries are fleeing Turkish bases in Libya. Others are attempting to reach Europe through Italy.

Turkey’s support and Syrian mercenaries allowed GNA forces to repel a large-scale attack by the Libyan National Army on Tripoli last year. GNA forces also secured a number of areas in the northwestern part of the country and around the capital.

The situation in Libya has been calm for almost a year now. The intra-Libyan talks are advancing. Yet, Turkey is not withdrawing its proxies from the country.

Turkey Is Still Deploying Syrian Mercenaries In Libya: Monitoring Group

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  • On January 22, Russian forces in Syria trained 50 Syrian fighters from Suwayda to send them to Libya, pro-GNA sources claim.
  • On January 22, Russian military contractors allegedly built 70 km trench extending from Sirte to Jufra, according to CNN reports.
  • On January 22, Libyan coast guard intercepted more than 80 Europe-bound migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • As of January 23, all foreign fighters were set to leave Libya. Nonetheless, Turkish forces and their proxies remain in the country.

Turkey is using Syrian militants as a pawn to further its interests in Libya. Ankara is planning to stay in the war-torn country for the long term.

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