Was the Return of a Number of Syrian Mercenaries From Libya a “Turkish Ploy”?

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On Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) revealed that a state of growing anger and resentment prevailed among the Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries in Libya, as their return to Syria has been suspended indefinitely.

On 21 March, 120 Syrian fighters, part of the Sultan Murad militia, were the latest batch of mercenaries to leave Libya. However, there is concern that the return of a few of the mercenaries was a Turkish media ploy, given that there are more than 6,630 mercenaries who remain deployed in Libya.

According to SOHR sources, Turkey intends to keep groups of Syrian fighters in Libya to protect Turkish bases. As well as claiming that many of the Syrians do not want to return home, but rather want to go to travel to Europe.

On 13 February, SOHR sources reported that the return of the Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries had been completely suspended. Some of the mercenaries in Libya confirmed that they were not asked to prepare for their return. This comes despite the Libyan-led consensus and international demands for the departure of foreign forces from the North African country.