Turkey has reduced the salary of Syrian mercenaries deployed in Libya from $2,000 to $600, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based organisation with numerous partners on the ground, reported on Tuesday. In the last 10 days, up to 1,200 fighters have returned from Libya after completing their contracts, according to statistics handled by the organisation. Turkey continues to train mercenaries on its territory to send to the conflict in North Africa. Sources consulted by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights have reported that the number of Jihadists who arrived in Libya has reached 10,000, of whom 2,500 are Tunisian nationals.

According to the statistics managed by the Syrian Observatory, the number of recruits who have arrived in Libya amounts to nearly 18,000 Syrian mercenaries, including 350 children under 18, of whom 7,100 have already returned to Syria after completing their contracts. Ankara continues to intensify its involvement in the Libyan conflict by supporting the National Accord Government led by Fayez Sarraj, who is located in the West and internationally recognised. This political entity disputes the country’s sovereignty with the parliament in Tobruk, in the east of the country, which is backed by the Libyan National Army (LNA) and led by Marshall and strongman Khalifa Haftar.

New talks to end the conflict

Since Tuesday, talks have resumed to reach an agreement between the two legitimacies disputing Libya with the mediation of Morocco, as the Moroccan news agency MAP detailed. The parties agreed to work to end corruption and the misuse of public funds in a country like Libya, which has been ravaged by the war that has been going on since 2014 following the fall of Muammar al-Qadhafi’s regime in 2011. The joint declaration includes the fact that “important commitments” have been agreed upon, although without providing further details. “The two parties hope to achieve positive and concrete results that will pave the way for the process of a comprehensive political settlement”, the official note added.

Erdogan y Sarraj
PHOTO/AP – Turkish President (left) Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets Fayez Sarraj, head of the National Accord Government, in Istanbul

This latest meeting took place at the initiative of Rabat, which had hosted the 2015 peace talks leading to the creation of a government recognised by the United Nations (UN). Since 2016 the United Nations has recognised the GNA, which in the war in Libya is strongly supported by Turkey (with its military support) and Qatar (with its financial support). The Eurasian nation led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached an agreement in November 2019 with Fayez Sarraj to give military support to the ANG in the battle and to distribute economic zones in the eastern Mediterranean, important for its gas and oil resources. A pact that led to the lifting of the protests of Greece and the European Union for supposedly invading the maritime borders of the Greek islands.

The war in Libya has become a conflict involving various foreign powers with interests in the North African nation, which intervene by sending paid mercenaries to support the militias in combat on the ground. Various media have published information on Turkey’s sending of militiamen from Syria who are allegedly attached to groups that were linked in the past to terrorist organisations such as Daesh and al-Qaeda.