SOHR: First group of 300 Syrian mercenaries deployed in Libya returns to Turkey
A total of 300 Syrian mercenaries, transferred by Turkey to fight in the Libyan civil war, returned to Turkish territory on Tuesday, a preliminary step for the return to their country, the Syrian Observatory of human rights.
According to the source, the soldiers of fortune landed at a military airport and their arrival coincided with the departure from the Syrian town of Afrin of a smaller group, around 90 mercenaries, enlisted in the pro-Turkish Salafist militias in opposition to the dictatorship of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, apparently with the intention of reinforcing forces in the Libyan capital.
The news comes just 48 hours after Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Al Manqoush announced the departure of the first group of foreign mercenaries in Libya and assures that it was the “beginning” of a staggered abandonment.
According to figures provided by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights itself, about 20,000 Syrian soldiers of fortune have traveled to Libya since in December 2018 Turkey decided to get involved in the civil war waged by troops under the command of Marshal Khalifa Hafter, a man strong in the east of the country, and the forces around the Government of National Accord (GNA) supported by the UN in Tripoli.
In addition to the thousands of Syrian mercenaries, in Libya they are also fighting Chadian, Sudanese and other Arab nationalities, and foreign private military security companies (PSMC), especially the one known as “Wagner Group”, an ally of Hafter and owned by the Russian oligarch Yevgueni. Prighozin, a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
DEMAND FOR PEACE
The departure of the foreign mercenaries was one of the conditions of the pacification and reunification process promoted by the UN in 2019, following the ceasefire agreement negotiated months before between Russia and Turkey, the two countries with the most influence in Libya.
It is also one of the demands established by the international powers at the Berlin Conference, convened to try to restore stability to a country that has become a failed state, a victim of war and chaos.
At present, the country continues to be divided into two political fronts, despite UN mediation efforts, and is preyed upon by militias, mercenaries and various mafias, which have established a system of corsair economy throughout North Africa. and the Sahel.
The exit of the mercenaries is negotiated in the 5 + 5 Military Committee, created after the ceasefire and the only forum in which the two rival parties negotiate directly.