Libyan newspaper: Akar's visit to Qatar is to recruit Somali mercenaries in Libyan war

Both Ankara and Qatar are seeking to employ new non-Syrian mercenaries to fight in Libya, especially after the Pentagon report that stated that Ankara sent nearly 3,000 Syrian mercenaries to Libya.

The Libyan newspaper, "Libya Review", wrote that the surprise visit of Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar to Qatar at the weekend may indicate that Turkey is seeking to reinforce an army of militants and mercenaries in Libya with Somali fighters.

Akar met with the Qatari Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in the capital, Doha, and the newspaper said that details of the discussions had not been published by the Qatari media.

The visit comes amid reports that the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), with support from Turkey, has moved fighters towards the strategic city of Sirte, on the Mediterranean, before the possible attack.

On Sunday, the Turkish newspaper Milliyet reported that Turkey had sent missile launchers and self-propelled guns that it used in Syria to Libya in preparation for this battle.

Qatar and Turkey held talks the day after the Pentagon released a report stating that Turkey had sent between 3,500 and 3,800 paid fighters to Libya from Syria to reinforce the National Accord Army.

The newspaper said, that the report may have caused a shift in the Turkish view on the use of the Syrians, which sparked international criticism, and the recruitment of more Somali fighters, who were trained by Qatar.

The visit came several days after violent clashes in Libya in which Syrian mercenaries participated.

Turkey and Qatar have become regional allies, cooperating in Libya and the war in Syria, and Egypt, which along with Russia and the United Arab Emirates, General Khalifa Hifter, has warned that Turkey will respond to any attempt to occupy Sirte or the strategic al-Jafra airbase in the Libyan Oil Crescent.


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