SOHR: Turkey Coercing Syrian Fighters To Libya

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The Head of The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), Rami Abdel-Rahman, claimed that Turkey was now using intimidation methods to force Syrian militias to transfer fighters to Libya.

Abdel-Rahman said that the process of transporting recruits to fight in Libya was no longer covert.
He added that, on Monday, several buses were seen leaving the city of Afrin carrying new recruits to training camps in Turkey. The Observatory believes that Turkey has sent at least 9,000 Syrian fighters to Libya, including 150 child soldiers.

The SOHR’s Director claimed that Turkey changed its recruitment tactics after fighters began to refuse to be deployed to Libya.

According to Abdel Rahman, Turkey previously promised fighters large financial incentives but has now resorted to intimidating the leaders of Syrian armed groups to have them send their men to Libya.

Abdel-Rahman claimed that “3,300 more fighters are being trained in Turkish bases”, in preparation for deployment to frontlines south of Tripoli.

He added that the fighters belonged to the ‘National Army’, a coalition of pro-Turkish Syrian rebels based in Idlib province. It is estimated that 298 have been killed in Libya, including 17 child soldiers.

The Observatory was unable to monitor Turkish Aircraft departing to Libya, stressing that “this is the role of the European Union and international organizations.”

He believed that a number of fighters were non-Syrian and belonged to IS. A number of European states have oppossed the transfer of these fighters to Libya by Turkey.