Turkey is pushing more of its Syrian proxies to Libya despite the recent progress in the intra-Libyan peace process and international pressure, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on June 19.
According to the London-based monitoring group, Turkey allowed 140 Syrian militants to return from Libya recently, only to replace them later with 200 militants.
The newly-deployed militants are all from the Suleyman Shah Brigade, the Sultan Murad Division and the Hamzah Division. The three groups are key factions in the Turkish-backed “Syrian National Army”.
Turkey deployed thousands of Syrian militants in Libya between 2019 and 2020 to support its allies in the now-defunct Government of National Accord. The militants helped push the Libyan National Army out of western Libya. More than 6,000 mercenaries are still in the country.
“The process of permanently retreating and withdrawing mercenaries from Libya is still on hold despite all international demands and intra-Libyan agreements,” the SOHR’s report reads.
Turkey has been dodging requests from Egypt, and allegedly the US, to withdraw Syrian mercenaries out from Libya for several months now. Anakra’s stand didn’t change much after the formation of the Government of National Unity in Libya.
Syrian mercenaries are advancing Turkey’s interests in Libya. According to several reports, Ankara wants permanent bases for its troops in the oil-rich country.
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