A Libyan Afriqiyah flight has left Istanbul, making a transfer stop in Antalya, while being accompanied by a military aircraft late on Sunday, according to flight radar images which currently show it is making its way to Misrata.
The live radar data from flight-tracking service Flightradar24.com showed the Afriqiyah Airways flight leaving Istanbul and stopping shortly in the southern Turkish city of Antalya. It was accompanied by an unmarked Lockheed C-130 Hercules military aircraft throughout its journey.
While Al Arabiya English could not independently verify whether both aircraft were carrying passengers or cargo, a source from Misrata airport informed Al Arabiya two weeks ago that an African Airways plane arriving from Turkey carried 122 Syrian mercenaries on board.
Sources confirmed this month that 8,950 mercenaries, including Syrian and non-Syrian fighters, have reached Libya so far. Sources also said the number mercenaries who arrived in Turkish military camps to receive training number around 3,300.
A video shared by a battalion in the Libyan National Army (LNA) allegedly shows a Syrian mercenary talking about being recruited by #Turkey to fight in the North African country.https://t.co/n7MpN8Rsvl pic.twitter.com/pQPV2wdX80— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) March 27, 2020
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan began sending his troops, as well as Syrian mercenaries, to Libya since earlier this year. The Turkish leader, who is allied with Qatar and the extremist Muslim Brotherhood network, first announced plans to send troops to Libya back in December last year.
Turkish and Syrian rebel deployment to Libya comes as Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord led by Fayez al-Sarraj fights an ongoing civil war against an alternative government based in the eastern city of Benghazi whose forces are led by General Khalifa Haftar.