Qatar dispatches hundreds of Somali mercenaries to Libya

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Sun, 26 Jul 2020 - 01:23 GMT

CAIRO – 26 July 2020: Hundreds of Somali youths were sent to Libya amid major escalation of tensions between Turkey and Egypt ahead of feared Sirte war, Somaliguardian reported on Sunday.
 
Some of the youths conscripted for Qatar’s army told Somaliguardian that many of their country-mates were already deployed in the front line areas in Libya and that they were waiting to be sent to the hostile zone.
 
More recently, there have been reports indicating that youths duped into the Somali army with promise that they will be conscripted for Qatar’s army –ended up in Libya after being trained in Eritrea.
 
Several of these youths were earlier confirmed dead in Eritrean training camp after being poisoned.
 
Moreover, Commander of Mobilization at the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khaled al-Mahgoub has unveiled that Syrian mercenaries transported by Turkey are being turned into police forces by the Ministry of Interior affiliated to Tripoli-based Government of Fayez Al-Sarraj.
 
Mahgoub stated that the first batch of those started patrolling the capital after receiving training at Takbali Camp southern the city and the police uniform.
 
Spokesperson of the LNA Ahmed al-Mesmary posted Friday a video showing dozens of mercenaries on board of an Afriqiyah Airways flight heading to Libya to join the Al-Sarraj’s militias' ranks.
 
The UN Security Council Committee concerning Libya indicated in a report issued Friday that Turkey has sent to the North African state 7,000 to 15,000 Syrian mercenaries. The committee highlighted that Libya is turning into a large market for arms as a consequence of the embargo violations.
 
Mesmary had stated earlier this month that Turkey has transported into Libya 25,000 mercenaries. Those include 17,000 Syrian militants, 2,500 Tunisians who fought in the ranks of the Islamic State (IS) in Idlib and Aleppo, and other nationalities including the Sudanese.  
 
Turkey has also sent 1,500 officers and experts to co-command the operations rooms of the Al-Sarraj's government militias and to pilot drones from mainly Tripoli's Mitiga Airbase. The LNA downed around 70 Turkish drones as they were targeting its concentrations.
 
The LNA announced downing on July 23 a Turkish reconnaissance plane west of the Libyan city of Sirte, which is currently controlled by LNA forces.
 
On July 22, the LNA warned Turkey against approaching the Libyan coast, threatening to target any hostile naval vessels in the Libyan waters.
 
Aref Al Nayed, the envoy of the Libyan Parliament speaker said on July 22 that the Libyan parliament is supporting the Egyptian military intervention in his country to stop the Turkish aggression.
 
On June 20, President Sisi declared Sirte and Al Jufrah in central Libya a red line that if crossed, Egypt's "direct intervention" becomes internationally legitimate.
 
That is because it is aligned with the UN Security Council resolutions on Libya and Berlin Conference imposing an arm embargo on Libyan factions, banning foreign intervention in the North African State, and advocating for a political solutions. Furthermore, Egypt's intervention is requested by the elected Libyan House of Representatives and Libyan tribes.
 
In December 2019, Turkey signed with the Government of National Accord (Al-Sarraj's government) – which is an interim non-elected government that is recognized by the United Nations – two MoUs on defense and gas drilling in the Mediterranean.
 
Libyan tribes announced the closure of oil ports and fields in January as the revenues were used by the Al-Sarraj's government to pay militants. Early in July, the tribes declared that oil facilities would resume operations. However, the LNA announced on July 11 that such facilities would remain closed until the demands of the Libyan people on dismantling militias are fulfilled. The Libyan National Oil Corporation (NCO) announced that the value of revenues lost until present is $6.5 billion.
 
On July 5, several "unknown aircraft" launched nine strikes against Oqba Bin Nafea Airbase located in Al Watiyah controlled by the Al-Sarraj's government and Turkey. The outcome was the destruction of Hawk air defense systems, and a Koral electronic warfare system as well as the killing of a Turkish commander, and six officers as the operations room they were in was hit.
 
However, the commander of mobilization stated on July 20 that Turkey still uses Oqba bin Nafea airbase in Al Watiyah western the country to bring in military reinforcements less than a month from losing air defense and electronic warfare systems in strikes by "unknown flights."  
 
On July 20, the Egyptian House of Representatives approved sending troops beyond Egyptian borders on the western strategic direction.
 
On July 16, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi met with Tribe leaders belonging to eastern, central, and western Libya in Cairo as they demanded Egypt's military support to repel Turkish aggression. "We will enter Libya upon the request of the Libyan people, and will leave it in compliance with the order of the Libyan people," the president stated.
 
On July 13, the Libyan House of Representatives issued a statement allowing the Egyptian Armed Forces to intervene whenever it perceives a threat to the security of Egypt and Libya describing Turkey as "the invading occupier."
 
The Libyan Armed Forces restored Sirte in January, and was advancing in the outskirts of Misrata and Tripoli. However, early in June, it lost Al Watiyah and Tarhouna, which was its last stronghold western the country, retreating into Sirte and Al Jufrah.  

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