Syrian refugees smuggled to Libya under the guise of ‘Turkey-backed mercenaries” : Report

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Armed groups operating within Syria are allegedly exploiting the desperation of refugees by facilitating their illegal migration to Libya under the guise of being Turkey-supported mercenaries, AFP news agency reported on Thursday. The claim also suggests that the expenses for this operation are covered from the “salary” paid by Turkey.

The international news agency AFP included allegations related to Turkey in its report on the route followed by Syrian refugees attempting to reach Europe via Libya through human traffickers.

The agency, which spoke with Syrian human traffickers and irregular migrants, claimed that some refugees are being smuggled to Libya while being portrayed as Turkey-backed paid soldiers.

“Every six months, we use warrior rotation to send these people (along with actual fighters) to Libya,” a representative responsible for recruiting new members for an armed group operating in the region controlled by Ankara-backed rebels in northern Syria said in an interview with AFP.

Speaking anonymously, the representative said that Syrians living in impoverished areas under the control of opposition forces in Idlib and Aleppo provinces, especially those living in camps due to leaving their homes, have been getting in touch with them.

The representative also mentioned that these refugees registered as “fighters” receive a “salary” of around $2,500 paid by Turkey. However, out of this amount, the armed group takes $1,300, and the rest goes to the person responsible for recruiting new fighters.

The representative indicated that this way, refugees manage to secure a free flight opportunity to Libya. According to the information provided by the representative, the following route is taken for the transportation of migrants to Europe:

Syrians initially go to camps established for Ankara-backed fighters near the Turkey-Syria border. Afterward, the refugees cross into Turkey and are flown to the capital of Libya, Tripoli.

After spending two weeks in Syrian militia camps in western Libya, they are introduced to human traffickers. These traffickers then transport the refugees to Italy via boats in exchange for around $2,000.

In Libya, a North African country, two separate governments with international support exist. The UN-backed government in Tripoli controls the western part of the country, while the Tobruk government, supported by General Khalifa Haftar and having close ties with Moscow and Damascus, rules the eastern part. Turkey supports the government in Tripoli, situated in western Libya.

Source: Gerçek News

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