Over 70 Syrian mercenaries sent by Turkey to Libya have been killed in the fighting on the side of the Government of National Accord near Tripoli, Ewan Libya news portal reported, citing the Libyan National Army and medical sources.
“The number of killed mercenaries of [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, who had come from Syria, has reached 71,” the Libyan military said. “Between 45 and 55 others have been wounded and are in critical condition.”
Those wounded received medical assistance and were taken to hospitals and a burns center accompanied by Turkish and Ukrainian doctors.
The LNA emphasized that all Syrian mercenaries were killed or wounded in attacks carried out in violation of the ceasefire and the forces had to retaliate.
According to Al-Hadath TV channel, which cited Syrian human rights activists, the death toll among militants sent by Turkey has hit 72.
By now, some 2,900 Syrian mercenaries have come to Libya and more than 1,800 others are undergoing training in Turkish camps, while the recruitment for the GNA forces is in full swing. Some 64 Syrian militants fled to Europe shortly after arriving in Libya.
There are two parallel executive authorities in Libya right now at loggerheads for power: the internationally recognized Government of National Accord led by Fayez al Sarraj, and the eastern-based Interim Cabinet led by Abdullah al-Thani, supported by the Libyan Parliament and the Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Haftar. On December 12, 2019, Haftar announced an all-out offensive against Tripoli in a bid to eliminate entrenched terrorist groups.
In its turn, the GNA has mobilized its armed units and officially requested Turkey’s assistance based on a memorandum on military cooperation signed in late November. The army command has repeatedly accused Ankara of deploying hundreds of mercenaries from Syria to Libya, including terrorists of the Islamic State group (outlawed in Russia).