The US Pentagon’s Inspector General confirmed that Turkey has dispatched 3,500 to 3,800 mercenaries to Libya during the first three months of this year.
The information was revealed by a new report, the first of its kind in detailing Turkish deployments that changed the war course in Libya.
The report says that Turkey has offered the citizenship to thousands of mercenaries, fighting alongside the militias located in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, against the forces of Marshal Khalifa Hafter, located in east Libya.
The report indicates that the mercenaries are fighting for money not for believes and ideologies.
Libya, which has the largest oil reserves in Northern Africa, is witnessing a conflict between two sides: The UN-recognized National Accord Government based in Tripoli, and the forces of Marshal Khalifa Haftar, controlling the east and part of the south.
The report came after a significant progress of the internationally recognized GNA, which forced Haftar to retreat from the outskirts of the capital.
Memorandum of Understanding
Since the memorandum of understanding between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of GNA was sigend, mercenaries are wreaking havoc in Libya, and escalating the conflict in the country, which prompted the UN to warn of “tragic repercussions.”
UN experts have warned that bringing mercenaries to Libya would escalate the conflict and undermine the endeavors to reach a peaceful solution; it also brought wows to the Libyans.
In a recent statement, the UN Group concerned in bringing mercenaries to Libya has expressed its dismay at the widespread reports on dispatching mercenaries to Libya.
Chris Kwaja, head of the UN working group, said that sending mercenaries would be a violation for the arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council, including a ban on bringing armed mercenary personnel. It is also considered as a violation of the International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries, which Libya signed.
The UN team has called on the conflicting parties and the countries that support them to stop the recruitment immediately, the financing and deployment of mercenaries and all the parties participating in the Libyan conflict.
The team referred to the above mentioned report regarding Turkey’s involvement in large-scale recruitment and transportation of Syrian fighters, to participate in the hostilities of the GNA.
New Batch of Terrorists
A German newspaper revealed that Turkey pays a salary of $2,000 a month for each mercenary in Libya fighting in favor of the GNA. The „Die Welt“ indicates that Libya bears part of the costs of Turkish presence there.
The newspaper quoted security expert Arjan Cetlioglu, adviser of the Turkish army for counter-terrorism affairs, asserting that Turkey pays $2,000 to each fighter in its favor in Libya.
Several reports revealed that the Libyan Central Bank has recently transferred €169 million to the Turkish company “SSTEK”, half of which is owned by the Turkish company BMC for cars and tanks, owned by a relative of Erdogan.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights SOHR said that Turkish intelligence has recently transferred more than 2,500 ISIS members – most of them Tunisian citizens – from Syria to Libya.
The observatory revealed last week that Turkey began transferring a new batch of non-Syrians terrorists from the Turkish-occupied areas in Syria, such as the Euphrates Shield.
Rami Abdel Rahman, the director of SOHR said that among the mercenaries, there were fighters from North African countries.