The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) monitored the arrival of a new batch of “mercenaries backed by Turkey” to Libyan territory to participate in military operations alongside the militias affiliated to the so-called the Government of National Accord (GNA) against the Libyan National Army.
The new batch includes hundreds of fighters from the pro-Turkey Syrian factions, thus reaching the number of recruits those who have reached Libyan territory so far, about 9,600 mercenaries, including a non-Syrian group. The number of recruits who arrived in the Turkish camps to receive training amounted to about 3,300.
Turkey Exploits Syrians’ Bad Living Conditions
It is worth noting that among the total number of recruits, there are about 180 children between the ages of 16 and 18, most of them from the “Sultan Murad” armed faction, who were recruited to fight in Libya through a process of material temptation to fully exploit the difficult living situation and poverty situations.
In a related context, SOHR documented more deaths among the pro-Turkey mercenaries as a result of the battles taking place on several axes inside the Libyan territories, pointing out to raising the death toll among the pro-Turkish factions due to the military operations in Libya, to 304 fighters, including 17 children under the age of 18.
The dead belong to the factions of “Al-Mu’tasim Brigade, Sultan Murad Brigade, Northern Falcons Brigade, Hamzat, and Suleiman Shah,” according to the SOHR’s sources.
A few hours ago, Colonel Khaled Al-Mahjoub, director of the Department of Moral Guidance of the Libyan National Army confirmed that Libyan forces withdrew from the Al-Watiya military base in the west of the country for tactical reasons.
LNA Withdrawal Is not A Defeat
He added in an interview with Sky News Arabia presenter late Monday that this step came to divert the military effort to another location, and take advantage of the tactical flexibility, which serves the battles.
“The leadership of the army always considers the lives of Libyan soldiers more important than all military sites,” he said, “and from this standpoint we took the decision to withdraw from Al-Watiya base in western Libya.”
Earlier, the Libyan National Army revealed that the army forces carried out “a tactical withdrawal, in an accurate and well-studied manner.”
The Libyan army published a statement in which it stated that “all aircraft, air defense systems and the field hospital, and all medical and ambulance crews were withdrawn, as the GNA’s militias found only a damaged and broken system, and scrap planes from the 1980’s.”
The statement stated that there were 1,000 vehicles, armored vehicles, a mobile operating room, and precision military equipment, “No one of which was obtained by the militia.”
It added that 1,500 soldiers withdrew, “and the militia did not capture any of them, saying:” Here lies the difference between tactical withdrawal and escape, with just two points and in a simple way.
“The withdrawal is part of the military plan that is well studied, and that part is applied after the completion of the operation completely, or to restore the forces and return to the battlefield with a systematic plan, to avoid losses,” the statement noted.
As for escaping, it is an act that results from fear and lack of certainty of the truth of the case, which leads to not confronting the enemy, leaving the battlefield, leaving weapons, mechanisms, and soldiers, according to the LNA’s statement.
The Libyan National Army indicated that the Al-Watiya military base “is not of military importance at the present time”, but at the same time it noted that it constitutes “a very important morale achievement for the GNA militias.”
Libya, once one of the most prosperous nations in Africa, remains fractured and devastated since the 2011 NATO bombing campaign that helped militant forces oust and kill long-time leader Muammar Gaddhafi.
After the war, the country became a playground for various competing militias, as well as a major human trafficking thoroughfare.