Pentagon: Turkey sends mercenaries to Libya

In a new report, the Inspector General of the US Department of Defense concluded that Turkey sent between 3,500 and 3,800 paid Syrian fighters to Libya, in addition to an unlimited number of Turkish soldiers.

A report issued by the Pentagon Inspector General, which is considered the first of its kind, and seen by the Associated Press, spoke about the details of the Turkish deployments that helped change the course of the war in Libya.

The report says, that Turkey sent between 3,500 and 3,800 paid Syrian fighters to Libya, and despite widespread reports of links to extremist fighters, the report says that the US military has found no evidence to suggest that mercenaries belong to the extremist ISIS group or al- Qaeda, and that the motive for fighting mercenaries is money.

The report comes at a time of escalation of the conflict in oil-rich Libya, which has turned into a regional proxy war fueled by foreign powers that pump arms and mercenaries into the country.

And the US military has grown increasingly concerned about Russia's growing influence in Libya, as hundreds of Russian mercenaries have supported a campaign to control the capital, Tripoli, in the west of the country.

The quarterly report on counterterrorism operations in Africa says that Turkey has pushed and offered its citizenship to thousands of mercenaries fighting alongside militias stationed in the capital Tripoli against the forces of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar stationed in eastern Libya.

The report quoted the African American Command as saying that 300 Syrian rebels backed by Turkey landed in Libya in early April, and the inspector general adds that Turkey also deployed an "unknown number" of Turkish soldiers during the first months of the year.

The report also covers only the first quarter of this year, that is, until the end of March, two months before a series of victories backed by Turkey by Tripoli forces that expelled Haftar's army from the outskirts of the capital.

Libya, which has the largest oil reserves in Africa, is witnessing a conflict between two authorities: the UN-recognized National Accord government, which is based in Tripoli, and Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who controls the east of the country and part of the south.

The report came after progress made by Accord government, which has international support and support from Turkey, which forced Haftar to retreat from the outskirts of the capital.

However, resorting to Syrian mercenaries is not exclusive to Ankara, but several reports stated that Russia, along with its ally Haftar, resorted to recruiting the Syrians, after realizing that they were losing the war, and indeed the Kremlin-related military companies, such as the Wagner Group, began to recruit young men in the areas that controlled by the Syrian regime has a duty, and a former Wagner member mentioned that Moscow sent Syrians to Libya for the first time in 2019.

T/S

ANHA


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