Turkey withdraws over 100 Syrian mercenaries from Libya - report

A group of some 120 pro-Turkey mercenaries from Syria have been flown out of Libya, London-based pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Tuesday.

The Syrian mercenaries were flown to Turkey from Tripoli’s Mitiga airport, the newspaper said, citing sources at the airport.

Meanwhile, Libyan security forces are starting to implement a plan to secure Tripoli and will deploy patrols inside the capital, the daily said.

The mercenaries leaving was “part of a regional understanding aimed at ending the presence of mercenaries in Libya”, it said, citing sources who wished to remain anonymous, which came as a result of negotiations between Turkey, Egypt, Russia and the United States.

Officials from the Libyan military welcomed the move to end Turkey’s military presence as well as the presence of their mercenaries and loyalists, according to Asharq Al-Awsat.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Sunday that the fighters preparing to leave Libya were with the Sultan Murad faction. The SOHR said mercenaries were angry that they hadn’t received their salaries.

Turkey has been accused of deploying several thousand mercenaries to the war-torn country to bolster its support for the U.N.-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in its fight against Libyan general Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA).

Ankara has been accused of deploying more fighters to Libya ahead of a reconciliation session in December, claim Turkey denies.