A well-informed source said Libyan pilots from Khalifa Haftar’s forces had arrived in Damascus to undertake training from the Syrian Air Force in the Russian Mi-25 attack helicopters.
The pilots will be stationed with the Air Force’s 64th Brigade at the Beli Military Airport, 20 kilometres (13 miles) south of Damascus, where they will undergo intensive training for at least six months to be qualified, according to the military source.
Backed by Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the parallel Libyan authorities have been on the offensive against the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) since April 2019, trying to take the Libyan capital Tripoli.
Bashar al-Assad’s regime and a delegation representing eastern Libyan strongman Haftar agreed last March to exchange diplomatic missions and confront Turkish “interference”, state-run news agency SANA said.
Turkey backs the UN-recognized government in Tripoli, and has dispatched troops and Syrian fighters to the north African country.
The Syrian regime has also sent hundreds of fighters to bolster Haftar’s army near Tripoli in the past few months who were encouraged by high incentives.
The Beli airbase is also a training field for Iranians pilots. Two squadrons of Iranian warplanes have been stationed there since 2012.
Military sources said Iran controls the northeastern part of the airport.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.