More than 70 Turkish-backed Syrian fighters killed in Libya clashes: report

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Forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar patrol in the southern Libyan city of Sebha, on February 9, 2019. (Photo by - / AFP) (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

More than 70 Syrian mercenaries sent by Turkey to Libya have been killed while fighting for the Government of National Accord (GNA) near Tripoli, the Al Masdar news website reported, citing the Libyan National Army (LNA) and medical sources.

“The number of killed mercenaries of [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan, who had come from Syria, has reached 71,” the Libyan military said. “Between 45 and 55 others have been wounded and are in critical condition.”

Those wounded received medical assistance and were taken to hospitals and a burn center accompanied by Turkish and Ukrainian doctors.

The LNA emphasized that all Syrian mercenaries were killed or wounded in attacks carried out in violation of a ceasefire and said the forces had to retaliate.

By now, some 2,900 Syrian mercenaries have come to Libya and more than 1,800 others are undergoing training in Turkish camps, while recruitment for GNA forces is in full swing.

Some 64 Syrian militants fled to Europe shortly after arriving in Libya. Turkey has been backing the GNA against Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s LNA forces.

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