The Tobruk-based Libyan National Army (LNA), Gen Khalifa Haftar, got no fewer than 400 mercenaries from Russia, new reports claimed.
The European country is belived to have sent 400 pro-regime militias from Syria’s northeastern Qamisli region to Libya to fight for warlord Haftar in exchange for money.
Haftar – who has the backing of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia – launched an offensive against Tripoli in April last year.
Haftar’s LNA and the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) of Tripoli have both agreed last month to cease all combat operations and plan elections in the next 18 months.
Despite the ceasefire, reports claim Russia sent “Shabiha” fighters who were founded by the President of Syria, Bashar Hafez al-Assad, to suppress the peaceful demonstrations that began in 2011.
The “Shabiha” fighters are suspected of committing war crimes in Syria. They arrived at the Russian Khmeimim Air Base in Syria’s Latakia province from the Qamishli airport the previous day.
Russia pays each mercenary sent from Syria to Libya around $1,500-$2,000 per month.
Russia continues to strengthen Haftar with mercenaries from Syria, according to local sources.
Last month, Russia reached an agreement in Qamishli in the regime-controlled area with 1,000 people between the ages of 20 and 45, who are also expected to be sent to Libya soon.
It is estimated that the number of mercenaries sent by Russia to fight for Haftar from various provinces of Syria has exceeded 5,000 so far.
Foreign warriors in Haftar’s ranks include Russian mercenaries, Janjaweed militias brought from Sudan, as well as armed rebels from Chad.
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