On Thursday, the Director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), Rami Abdel-Rahman, stated that a new batch of Syrian mercenaries are currently in training camps in Turkey. They are waiting to be transferred to Libya, should the newly announced ceasefire collapse.
In an interview with Sky News Arabia, Abdel-Rahman said: “the momentum of Turkish recruitment of mercenaries has eased recently, after international reports discussed the issue. The mercenaries in Turkish camps, numbering about 500, know that they are going to fight in Libya if the ceasefire collapses”.
A report issued by the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), revealed that more than 5,000 Syrian mercenaries were sent by Ankara to Tripoli between April and June 2020.
Abdel-Rahman commented on this report by saying: “The report is identical to the reports of the Observatory, which talked in April about the presence of about 10,000 mercenaries in Libya. In June the number reached 15,000. Now we are talking about 18,000 mercenaries who arrived in Libya. Last week, 6,150 of them returned to Syria”.
He confirmed that the lastest batch arrived about four weeks ago. This included 800 fighters, despite ceasefire and peace talks being discussed. The SOHR Director also pointed out the recruitment of child soldiers in the conflict.
“Among the approximately 17,900 mercenaries who arrived in Libya, there are 350 under the age of 18 years. Some of them were kidnapped in one way or another, and sent to Libya”, Abdel-Rahman said.