Turkey has ordered Syrian mercenaries in Libya to prepare for a nearing withdrawal, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on March 19.
“Turkish-backed Syrian fighters in Libya have been informed to pack up and prepare themselves to return to Syria,” the monitoring group said in a report. “This development comes in light of Erdogan’s new political stance towards the Arabs through attempts to amend its diplomatic and political relations with Egypt.”
The London-based group noted that Syrian mercenaries in Libya received similar orders before. Yet, there was no real withdrawal.
Turkey deployed over 18,000 of its Syrian proxies in Libya in 2019 and 2020 to support its allies in the Government of National Accord against the Libyan National Army. Currently, at least 8,000 are still in the war-torn country.
The SOHR’s new report came following news of an initial agreement between the US and Turkey to pull out all Syrian mercenaries from Libya. The withdrawal process will take two weeks only. Washington and Ankara are yet to confirm the agreement.
The Libya political process saw some serious progress in the last few months. The withdrawal of Syrian mercenaries will boost the political process and reduce Turkey’s influence on the ground in the country.