Some 200 Turkish-backed militants flee crisis-hit Libya to Europe: SOHR
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) says 200 Takfiri militants, whom Turkey has transported from restive areas in northern Syria to Libya to fight alongside Turkish military forces, have managed to flee from the North African country and sneak into Europe.
The Britain-based war monitor, citing sources requesting anonymity, said on Monday that nearly 40 of the Takfiris were members of the Hamzat terrorist group, who are wreaking havoc in the Turkish-controlled and predominantly Kurdish town of Afrin in Syria’s northwestern province of Aleppo.
The sources noted that a new batch of militants from the so-called Mu'tasim Division is going to be moved to Libya within the next few hours, as part of Turkey’s continuing process of transferring mercenaries from Syria to the war-ravaged North African country.
The SOHR reported on Saturday that the number of Turkish-backed militants, who have arrived in the Libyan capital city of Tripoli up until then, stands at some 4,750.
The Observatory added that nearly 1,900 Takfiris are currently receiving military training in Turkey in order to be sent to Libya.
The sources further noted that Turkey is recruiting young extremists in the predominantly Kurdish town of Afrin and other Turkish-controlled areas of northern Syria for the purpose, emphasizing that they are members of the Mu'tasim Division, Sultan Murad, Northern Falcons Brigade, al-Hamzat, the Sham Legion, Suleyman Shah and Samarkand Brigade militant groups.
They underlined that 117 Syrian militants, who joined the ranks of Turkey’s military operations in Libya, have been killed there.
The Observatory went on to say that the Takfiris have been killed in clashes in Salah al-Din district south of Tripoli, al-Ramlah area near Tripoli's Mitiga International Airport as well as Hadaba project area in southern Tripoli.
Libya plunged into chaos in 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi and his execution by unruly fighters.
The North African country has since been split between two rival administrations based in the east and west amid a conflict drawing increasing involvement from foreign powers.
According to the latest UN tally, more than 280 civilians and roughly 2,000 fighters have been killed since Haftar launched his offensive in April to seize Tripoli. An estimated 146,000 Libyans have been displaced.