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SOHR: Ankara Blackmailing Syrian Mercenaries in Libya

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On Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) claimed that the Turkish government continues to ban vacations or leave for its Syrian mercenaries in Libya, despite numerous requests to return home.

The repeated demands by Syrian mercenaries in Libya are met by deafening silence, as “the Turkish government works on blackmailing the mercenaries by not paying their agreed-upon salaries to keep them in Libya for a longer period.” Many of the mercenaries have called on their commanders to return them to Syria, according to SOHR sources.

On 10 January, reliable sources informed SOHR that the mercenaries in Libya have reportedly received the second half of their salaries, an estimated $300 US dollars.

It claimed that the total payments in January amounted to $900 US dollars each, while 10,500 Turkish liras were delivered to their relatives in Aleppo. On 2 January, SOHR activists reported that the mercenaries received the salaries after a seven-month delay.

Last week, the Observatory reported that the Turkish government intended to maintain these mercenaries, despite international calls for all foreign forces to withdraw from Libya.

An estimated 7,000 Syrian fighters are believed to remain in Libya, according to the SOHR.

Notably, the Observatory stated on 10 October, that a new batch of 100 Syrian fighters had been repatriated to Syria. This coincided with the back-and-forth transfer operations of mercenaries. The batch also contained fighters who were transported to Libya in 2019, the SOHR said.

Libyan Foreign Minister, Najla Al-Mangoush told Reuters in October, that some foreign fighters have left the country. This comes as the government seeks to mobilize international support to withdraw the remaining forces.

The ceasefire agreement between Libya’s warring parties called for all foreign mercenaries to be withdrawn within three months of its signing, in October 2020.

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