On Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) stated that a new batch of Syrian mercenaries have returned from Libya in the past few days. This batch is the first one to return since mid-November 2020.
According to the SOHR, 40 fighters returned to Syria after paying estimated $500 USD each to Libyan doctors in exchange for writing false medical reports, discharging them from service.
The Observatory also confirmed that the fighters have been paid a quarter of their promised $2,000 monthly salary. Concurrently, many fighters are reported to have not been paid for over five months.
A few days ago, SOHR sources reported that a state of discontent was prevailing among the Turkish-backed mercenaries over their deducted and delayed payments. It confirmed that their commanders deducted about $300 dollars from the monthly salaries of each fighter, before transferring the rest to their families in Syria.
The SOHR stated that mercenaries demanded that Ankara pay them directly, instead of delivering salaries to their commanders. It noted that one of the biggest reasons behind the salary delay is that the commanders are reportedly trading the money in Libya’s forex black market.
The number of Syrian mercenaries sent to Libya by Turkey is estimated at 18,000, including 350 minors under the age of 18. The majority of these child soldiers were recruited by the ‘Sultan Murad’ militia who exploited their personal hardships to enlist them.
About 10,750 mercenaries are thought to have returned to Syria after the end of their contracts. The number of jihadists believed to have arrived among them is 10,000 fighters, of whom 2,500 were Tunisian nationals. The death toll among these mercenaries is reportedly 496 KIA.