SOHR Says Turkey Sent Nearly 18,000 Syrian Mercenaries to Libya

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On Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) revealed that the total number of Turkish-backed fighters who had been transferred to Libya had risen to nearly 18,000 Syrian mercenaries, 7,100 returned to Syria after completing the duration of their contracts and receiving their financial dues. It is worth noting that the number of jihadists who were transported from Syria to Libya reached 10,000, of whom there were 2,500 Tunisians. It is also known that among the 18,000 mercenaries, there are at least 350 children under the age of 18.

In a statement, the SOHR added that a new batch of Turkish-backed mercenaries returned from Libya to Syria, after completing the duration of their contracts, bringing the total number of returnees in ten days to more than 1,200.

On the other hand, reliable sources have informed the SOHR that the Turkish government transported over 300 fighters from Turkish-backed Syrian factions, mainly the “Sultan Murad” and “Al-Amshat” factions, from the villages and towns of Afrin canton in north-western Aleppo.

The fighters themselves have said that they are taken to Azerbaijan in order to guard the state’s border in return for salaries of 1,500 to 2,000 USD. However, SOHR has not verified if the mercenaries’ destination will be Azerbaijan, Libya or somewhere else.

On 8 September, reliable SOHR sources confirmed that the Turkish government cut the salaries of mercenaries who desired to continue fighting in Libya. According to the Turkish government’s decision, which came in the wake of the Libyan-Libyan consensus, the recruited mercenaries would receive 600 USD per month each, after they were getting paid a monthly salary estimated at 2,000 USD.