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Libya’s Syria connection is being reactivated

17 3 2

When President Recep Tayyip Erdogan admitted for the first time last February that his government has sent Syrian mercenaries to Libya he was only confirming what was already known. Libyan affairs experts and commentators had already pointed out that fact. It also makes sense for him to send Syrian fighters loyal to him instead of risking his own soldiers.

Erdogan, of course, justifies his military support for the embattled Government of National Accord (GNA) by the ambiguous security deal he signed with the Tripoli-based UN recognised GNA back on 27 November 2019. In return for military help against the attacking Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Khalifa Haftar, Ankara agreed to sign another controversial maritime deal with the GNA allowing it to draw its claimed sea borders. Egypt, Cyprus and Greece disputed the legality of the maritime deal claiming it infringes their own maritime economic areas.

By sending Syrian fighters to Libya Erdogan was only reactivated an old route of fighters and arms but in the opposite direction. Libyan mercenaries, mainly Jihadist, have been involved in the Syrian civil war from as earlier as 2011 and earlier 2012. To reach Syria they had to pass through Turkey. Mahdi Al-Harati, a well-known Libyan-Irish jihadist, founded and commanded Al-Uma Brigade, who once fought alongside different groups including Free Syrian Army in Syria. Al-Harati, who briefly served as Tripoli mayor and was said to have met President........

© Middle East Monitor