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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Analysis: Mercenaries In Libya... Who Should Be Blamed?


Fri 07 Feb 2020 | 10:02 AM

Supporters of Fayez al-Sarraj, Head of the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya , have been controlling the capital, Tripoli for years. They are backed by thousands of foreign fighters who have been flocking to their city. Such piece of information is deemed as secret as "military information."

However, hundreds of thousands of Libyan nationals living in Tripoli are waiting for the arrival of the Libyan National Army (LNA) to free their city from foreign mercenaries and local extremists.

Local and western media reports revealed in long series of published stories that Syrian and Turkish foreign fighters have been sent to Tripoli from Ankara. Their main mission is to fight against the LNA led by Commander Khalifa Haftar.

Talking about the use of mercenaries by Sarraj is no longer a secret. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reaffirmed many times sending military equipments and troops to Tripoli.

The head of the UN mission in Libya, Dr. Ghassan Salameh, warned that Sarraj forces “violate the arms embargo;" stressing that "mercenaries are still flocking to Libya.”

Sarraj has never denied that fact.

In a newly-published report by pan-Arab Asharq Awsaat newspaper, a Tripoli resident said “many of Libyans in the capital are getting fed up with the Turkish interference in our domestic affairs.” He continued that, “We are dissatisfied with the Turkish presence in our country especially after sending armed militias to fight on our territories.”

The numbers of mercenaries vary, However director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, said that the number reached 3,600 fighters by the middle of the last week.

On his part, LNA Spokesman Major General Ahmed Al-Mesmari, estimated the number of the mercenaries to be 6,000 members so far, and he went on to say that Erdogan aims to send 18 thousand elements.

On the other hand, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that a transfer is taking place for "hundreds of fighters" from the de-escalation zone in Idlib, northern Syria, to Libya, to participate in the fighting taking place in the north African country, according to Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Russian Sputnik Agency.

The use of foreign forces from mercenaries constitutes a dangerous turning point in the form and level of the conflict in Libya.

In the same context, the US-based Associated Press quoted two leaders of the Tripoli militias as saying that Ankara “has brought more than 4,000 foreign fighters to Tripoli”, amid a split between the militias that the affiliation of these elements distorts the image of the "GNA" forces. But there are those who see the necessity of these forces to repel the Haftar operation aimed to liberate the capital city.