Turkey sent a new batch of Syrian mercenaries to Libya

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The Turkish process of withdrawing Syrian mercenaries loyal to Ankara from Libya has been blocked since last March 21, and several media outlets indicate the intentions of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Defense ministry to keep armed Syrian factions in Libya to protect their military bases. The return from Libya of Syrian factions loyal to Turkey is still suspended, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed in a report released yesterday, Thursday, April 8.

The Turkish government also sent a new batch of 380 mercenaries to Libya, according to information from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and security officials in Tripoli. The group was initially taken to Turkey and from there it was sent to Libya through Libyan Airlines. According to Al-Arabiya, in light of the growing discontent among the Syrian fighters present in Libya for their stay and their non-return, especially because their conditions are very bad, the Saudi channel reported quoting the Observatory.

The organization had reported early this month that the process of returning Syrian mercenaries loyal to Turkey from Libya has been blocked since March 21, at a time when the mercenaries’ departure from there and their return to Syria is expected to take place in batches. And the Turkish side “is still evasive and manoeuvring with the return file, amid the constant discontent of the fighters present there.

According to several Human Rights organizations and international reporters, the conditions of the mercenaries in Libya are very bad in terms of lost wages and a strong desire to return. As for the mercenaries who recently returned from Libya, their destination is unclear so far, as they did not return to Syria. A group of 120 fighters from the Sultan Murad Faction returned to Syria from Libya, on 21 March.

The Observatory fears that the return of very few of them is a Turkish maneuver and only a media return, since there are still more than 6,630 mercenaries in the North African country, according to the observatory’s sources among the mercenaries. The Observatory’s investigations indicated Turkish intentions to keep loyal groups of Syrian factions in Libya to protect Turkish bases there, and many mercenaries do not want to return to Syria but want to go to Europe via Italy.

A Syrian fighter employed at al-Watiya airbase confirmed their presence to The Arab Posts and he explained that they are training Libyan soldiers and supporting Libyan brigades in high-level operations against organized crime and human smugglers in the area between Zawiya and Bani Walid.

The term for the withdrawing of foreign mercenaries expired at the end of January. Recently in an interview with the Italian press, the new President of the Libyan Presidential Council, Mohamed al-Manfi, called on Italy and Europe to help the new executive with the withdraw of foreign forces and eliminating dangerous armed militias.

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