Dozens of Libyans gathered on Tuesday evening in front of the Police Academy in Tripoli, urging the expulsion of all Syrian mercenaries from the premises.
Protesters associated with the “Youth Movement of Al-Hadaba District” gave the Government of National Unity (GNU) hours to remove the Syrians, accusing the government of squandering and misusing state funds. They warned of escalating actions if the mercenaries’ presence persists.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the movement called on the 444th Brigade to intervene, and use force to expel the mercenaries. It urged all Libyans to join their cause in removing the mercenaries from the camps.
The movement affirmed that their continued presence “poses a significant security and social threat to the area, and its residents.”
Videos circulating on social media showed Libyan protesters storming the Police Academy, where the Syrian mercenaries are stationed, engaging in heated altercations with them. They set fire to tires, blocked surrounding roads, and chanted, “We are coming for you, Syrians. Leave Libya,” demanding their repatriation.
The issue of removing mercenaries from Libya remains a subject of local and international debate, and faces various challenges, despite the efforts of the 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) to establish a mechanism for their complete withdrawal from the country.
Libya has been marked by political instability and violent conflict since the fall of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, Libya fell into a prolonged civil war, resulting in divided authorities, economic collapse, and a humanitarian crisis.
The long-lasting conflict has resulted in a severe impact on the Libyan population’s socioeconomic conditions, with a deteriorating humanitarian situation. There are widespread reports of human rights abuses, including cases of child abuse, enforced disappearances, and the abuse of migrants and refugees. The Libyan authorities and international organizations continue to grapple with these severe issues, amid the ongoing crisis.