SOHR: Turkey Continues to Send Mercenaries to Libya

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) announced that Turkey has resumed the back-and-forth transfer of Syrian mercenaries to Libya. This follows a decision in late June, to halt the process until the end of 2022.

The SOHR reported that nearly 250 Syrian mercenaries were repatriated from Libya, via Turkey. Most of the individuals are wounded and sick fighters. They belong to the Al-Sultan Murad, Soqur Al-Shamal, Suleiman Shah, Al-Hamza Division, Al-Majd Corps and other militias.

In turn, two batches of 250 mercenaries also left Syria for Libya. The mercenaries had threatened to stage demonstrations if the operations were to remain suspended until the end of the year.

On 02 July, reliable sources told SOHR that disagreements escalated between members of the National Army in the Yarmouk camp in Tripoli. Many of these mercenaries have been in Libya for over two years, and have been prevented from visiting Syria.

Ankara signed a memorandum of understanding on security and military cooperation in November 2019 with Libya’s former Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj.

Last month, the Turkish Parliament approved a motion to extend the mission of the Turkish troops in Libya for additional 18 months.

The memorandum signed by Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated that “the efforts initiated by Libya after the events of February 2011, to build democratic institutions, were in vain due to armed conflicts that led to the emergence of a fragmented administrative structure in the country.”

It recalled the signing of the Skhirat Agreement in 2015 in Morocco, under the auspices of the United Nations, after nearly a year of negotiations between all Libyan parties. This was to establish a ceasefire, and preserve the country’s territorial integrity.