Turkey resumes mercenary transfer in Libya
Turkey resumed the back-and-forth transfer of Syrian mercenaries in Libya this week, despite a decision announced late last month that the operations were halted until the end of 2022, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported.
Some 250 Syrian fighters were sent back to Syria from Libya via Turkey, while two batches of 250 mercenaries left Syria for Libya, SOHR said on Tuesday.
Turkey sided with the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in its war against Russia and UAE-backed Libyan National Army (LNA), in the north African country, after former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in a 2011 uprising. Around 20,000 foreign mercenaries were deployed in Libya on both sides at the end of 2020, according to UN data.
The move came after the mercenaries threatened to stage demonstrations should the operations stop, SOHR said.
On June 26, the leadership of Turkish forces in Libya has informed the mercenaries of “National Army” factions that it halted the back-and-forth transfer operations until the end of the years, without explaining the reasons, SOHR said, citing sources identified as reliable.
The majority of the fighters transferred back to Syria were wounded and sick, it said.