Has Turkey Given it’s Orders to Syrian Mercenaries in Libya to Return?


Turkish-backed Syrian fighters in Libya have been informed to pack up and prepare themselves to return to Syria. These orders came from the Turkish government, reliable sources told the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) on Friday.

This development comes in light of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s new political stance towards the Arab region through attempts to amend its diplomatic and political relations with Egypt.

However, the return of groups of Syrian mercenaries was suspended since mid-November 2020. On February 13th, SOHR sources reported that the return of the Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries was completely suspended. Some of these mercenaries in Libya confirmed that they were not asked to prepare to return.

The SOHR noted that 6,750 Syrian fighters of Turkish-backed factions maintained in Libya, and the operations which took place since November were only change of shifts, as some groups returned to Syria while other groups were sent to Libya.

The presence of foreign mercenaries in Libya has continued despite all international demands, the Libyan-Libyan agreement and the passing of the deadline given to foreign mercenaries to leave Libya. According to the Libyan-Libyan agreement, foreign fighters (mercenaries) were supposed to withdraw from Libya within three months after the ceasefire came into force on October 23rd, 2020.

According to SOHR statistics, the number of recruits who arrived in Libya approximated 18,000 Syrian mercenaries, including 350 children under the age of 18, of whom 10,750 returned to Syria after completing the duration of their contracts and receiving their financial dues. While the number of jihadists who were transported from Syria to Libya reached 10,000, of whom 2,500 were Tunisians.