Turkey is recruiting Syrian-based militia to fight in Libya under the command of Turkish and Syrian officers, the Syrian Observatory reported.
Recruitment centers in the Afrin region to the north of Aleppo were set up by pro-Turkish Syrian factions to register names of those interested in fighting in Libya, the non-government group said on Sunday. The factions offered salaries ranging from $1,800 - $2,000 a month, in addition to “providing services that the host country guarantees,” it added.
Opposition figures, including a leading member of the opposition Syrian National Council Berhan Ghalyoun, said in a statement they condemned any Syrian who agrees to fight abroad regardless of the temptations.
“Syrians revolted for their freedom and dignity and to build their national democratic system… The Syrians did not take up arms to turn into mercenaries fighting in the wars of others outside their land and outside the foundations of their revolution,” the statement said.
Turkey’s embattled President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Thursday plans to send troops to Libya in response to a request from the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), which is backed by a plethora of militias including groups linked to Al Qaeda.
The Turkish move raises the stakes in Libya’s civil war, where the Libyan National Army, led by General Khalifa Haftar, launched an offensive against the GNA in April. Backed by several European powers and moderate Gulf Arab states, Haftar vows to end the rule of militias.