SOHR: Syrian Mercenaries in Libya to be Repatriated

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On Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) stated that a new batch of Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries in Libya is expected to be returned to Syria within the next few days. 150 mercenaries have reportedly been informed by their commanders to get themselves ready to return.

On Saturday, the observatory said that Turkey is currently repatriating a group from Libya, whilst also deploying a new group to the North African country.

SOHR noted that the repatriated groups often consist of 100-250 mercenaries, with similarly sized groups deployed to Libya. The repatriation of those fighters from Libya is said to be based on certain health and security conditions.

Many of the mercenaries have not received their salaries for months, and some have tried to escape their training camps in Tripoli. A number have also tried to flee to Europe, through Italy.

On 17 January, SOHR confirmed that a new group of 95 mercenaries had returned to Syria, while a further 200 arrived in Libya.

Last week, it alleged that a group of 40 mercenaries had returned from Libya after paying an estimated $500 USD each to Libyan doctors in exchange for writing false medical reports, discharging them from service.

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.