Dozens of Syrian mercenaries in Libya killed in 1 week

Although the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that 151 Turkey-backed militants – fighting in the ranks of Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) have been killed since the beginning of this year, the LNA announced Thursday that the number of Syrian mercenaries who fell over the previous 72 hours is 103.

The breakdown indicated by the LNA is 71 from the Second Corps, and 32 from the Third Corps. Mercenaries affiliated to the Second Corps are 35 from the Sultan Murad Brigade, nine from Al-Moatasim Division, 27 from Al-Hamzat Brigade including leader Abou Hassan al-Hamzawy.

Mercenaries affiliated to the Third Corp are eight from Al Nusra Front, 13 from Afrin-based Al Majd Corps, and 1 from the North Hawks Brigade.

SOHR reported Wednesday that eight Turkey-backed militants – fighting in the ranks of Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) – were killed in clashes with the Libyan National Army (LNA) so that the total figure becomes 151 since the beginning of this year.

The observatory had reported earlier this month that the number of fatalities among Syrian mercenaries in Libya recorded 117.

The clashes took place in Salah El Din district south of Tripoli, Al Ramla near Tripoli airport, Al Hadba neighborhood, Misrata outskirts, and others. The LNA also captured a Syrian militant.

The militants killed belonged to Aleppo-based Al-Moatasim Division, Sultan Murad Brigade, and Al-Hamzat Brigade, Raqqah-based North Hawks Brigade, and Suleiman Shah Brigade operating in Aleppo and Latakia.

SOHR revealed that the bodies of some of those were repatriated to Syria and buried in the areas controlled by armed groups in Aleppo countryside’s Deraa Al Forat district.

The GNA militias launched on Wednesday a failed attack against Oqba Ibn Nafea Airbase in Watiya District western Tripoli calling the operation the Peace Storm, as declared by the LNA Spokesperson Ahmed al-Mesmary. Engagements took place 12 kilometers away from the airbase and the LNA jets struck militias’ locations.

Commander of the Libyan Western Military Zone Mabrouk al-Ghazwy said in a video-taped speech on Sunday that four Turkish soldiers and a Syrian militant commander were killed in the latest clashes southern Tripoli. Those were fighting in the ranks of the militias of the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the Libyan capital.

SOHR had reported that the number of Syrian militants who arrived in “Tripoli” until this month had recorded nearly 4,750 while around 1,900 others were receiving training in Turkey. SOHR also revealed that nearly 150 of such mercenaries left Libya for Europe.

The recruitment pool is Afrin, areas under the control of “Euphrates Shield” factions and the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES). Turkey had targeted recruiting 6,000 mercenaries, and was able to attract more than that number. Yet, recruitment is still ongoing.

Turkey has been backing Tripoli militias after it had signed in December two MoUs with the GNA – which is an interim non-elected UN-recognized government – to achieve cooperation in the sectors of defense and gas drilling in the Mediterranean.