17,000 Syrian Fighters in Libya, Fighting for Turkey

Despite the direct and declared Turkish intervention in Libya, the number of mercenaries fighting in support of the Government of National Accord has exceeded the expectations, when General Ahmad al-Mismari, the spokesperson of the Libyan National Army said that Turkey sent more than 17,000 fighters to Libya within the past few months.

“They have dispatched large groups of mercenaries from different nationalities,” al-Mismari said, pointing out that 1,000 of them were killed during the battles in Tripoli, while 1,800 were repatriated after being wounded in the clashes with the Libyan army.

The significant role of mercenaries was obvious in their participation in the recent military operations, particularly in the attacks of the Accord Government militias against areas controlled by the National Army, where large amount of the mercenaries was killed or injured.

Deception and Skirmishes

Although their role is very significant for the Accord Government resilience, tensions have erupted between the mercenaries and Turkish on one and militias’ commanders on the other side. Media reports state possible insurgencies among the mercenaries, pointing out that many of them fled their posts in the past few days after skirmishes between them and their commanders

Analysts expect that armed clashes between both sides might erupt in the following few days, not only limited to skirmishes, but also revealing continued disputes between foreign mercenaries and Libyan militants.

The crisis between Turkey and mercenaries has not stopped there, as Syrian human rights groups reported that Faylaq al-Rahman, an armed opposition faction, rejected the Turkish request of sending fighters to Libya, prompting Turkey to cut off the faction’s funding without revealing the reasons of the its rejection, although being one of the biggest factions backed by Turkey in Syria.

According to al-Mismari, the recent actions by the Turkish army were not only limited to its position towards the mercenaries, but also attempting to use all available military forces by attacking Libyan targets.

Additionally, al-Mismari confirmed that ground Turkish forces have recently participated in the major attack launched by the militias of the Accord Government against the city of Tarhuna, in the southeast of Tripoli.

“Turkey has always threatened to use excessive power against the armed forces, and we have already monitored a group of aircrafts simulating targeting sites inside Libyan territory.

Last week, the Libyan Army confirmed the arrest of a group of mercenaries sent by Turkey to fight alongside Libyan militias, pointing out that the Libyan Army’s investigations revealed shocking facts about the recruitment operations organized by Turkey.

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