Turkey, Qatar recruit thousands of Somali mercenaries to fight in Libya: Report

Fighters from an armed group loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) prepare ammunition in Libya, April 8, 2019. (File photo: AFP)

Turkey and Qatar recruited more than 2,000 Somali mercenaries to fight in Libya alongside the Government of National Accord (GNA), Somali Guardian news website reported on Friday.

Some of the Somali youths recruited by Doha and Ankara told Somali Guardian that “many of their country-mates were already deployed on the frontlines in Libya and were waiting to be sent to areas of active combat.”

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The report added that the Somalis had been granted Qatari citizenship earlier and were upset to be labeled as mercenaries by some media outlets.

Many of the Somali youths said that “poverty and unemployment forced them to throw their lives into a raging fire,” according to the report.

Turkey had sent thousands of Syrian fighters to support the GNA, according to the Syrian Observatory, a war monitor.

The Libyan conflict

Libya has plunged into chaos since the 2011 toppling of dictator Moammar Gaddafi.

Clashes between the two main warring parties in the country, the Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Khalifa Haftar and the Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Fayez al-Serraj, have intensified recently.

Many foreign powers have backed different sides of the conflict with varying degrees of support, with the most prominent countries being Turkey backing the GNA and Egypt backing the LNA.

The possibility of further escalating the conflict in the North African country increased after Egypt’s parliament authorized the deployment of troops outside the country, allowing Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to act on his threat of military action against Turkish-backed forces in Libya.

Turkish media outlets said Ankara put in place a plan to increase its forces and military equipment in Libya to confront Egyptian forces in case Cairo decides to intervene.

Qatar and Turkey

Qatar and Turkey have grown increasingly close in recent years since Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar in 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism – a charge Doha denies.

Doha also helped Ankara shore up its foreign reserves with a $15 billion deal announced in May to help Turkey’s struggling economy.

On Monday, Qatari Minister of State for Defense met Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar to discuss the latest developments of the Libyan situation.

Read more:

Egypt’s parliament approves possible troop deployment to Libya

Libya is battling against terrorism, mercenaries, Turkish colonization: LNA

Libya’s LNA says Turkey mobilized large number of mercenaries in Misrata

Libya’s GNA should realize its size, who it’s talking to: Egypt official in report

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Last Update: Sunday, 26 July 2020 KSA 08:30 - GMT 05:30
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