The Turkish intelligence has ordered some 2,000 Syrian militants deployed in Libya to prepare to return to their country, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on September 30.
The decision to withdraw the militants, who fought as mercenaries for Turkey’s allies in Libya, came ahead of the December 24 Libyan general election which is expected to give the war-torn country its first president and parliament in years.
According to the SOHR, around 7,000 Turkish-backed Syrian militants are currently present in Libya, mainly in the capital Tripoli and the rest of the western region that’s controlled by Turkey’s allies.
Member of the Joint Military Committee 5 + 5, Lieutenant-General Khairy Al-Tamimi, told the UAE-based al-Arabiya TV on September 30 that the committee will hold a meeting in Geneva in the first week of October to discuss the withdrawal of foreign mercenaries from Libya.
Several recent reports in the Arabia media talked about evacuation flights from Libya to Turkey, which was denied by the SOHR on October 1. According to the monitoring group, not a single Syrian militant has been withdrawn from Libya yet.
The SOHR went on to warn from a “fake” Turkish withdrawal from Libya, especially that the anticipated pullout is not observed by any independent side.
Several region and international powers have been pressuring Turkey to withdraw its proxies from Libya for well over a year now. Despite recent progress in the country’s political process, Ankara kept its mercenaries in the country.
Now, Turkey may be inclined to pullout some of its mercenaries from Libya in order to deploy them on other fronts, mainly in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib. The Syrian Arab Army and its allies may launch an attack on the region soon.
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