At least 200 Syrian fighters will leave for Libya from Russia’s Hemeimeem airbase in coastal Lattakia region to join Khalifa Haftar’s forces near Tripoli, a well-informed source told Zaman Al-Wasl Sunday.
A Russian cargo plane is due to transfer the former rebels who laid down weapons in central Homs province two years ago, but have since been recruited by the Russian Wagner paramilitary group.
The fighters have followed an intensive Russian army training programme in a desert area near the historic city of Palmyra, according to the source.
Over the past few months, the Syrian regime has sent hundreds of fighters, encouraged by large incentives, to bolster Haftar’s army near Tripoli.
Turkey, who backs the UN-recognized government in Tripoli, has also dispatched troops and Syrian fighters to the north African country.
Backed by Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the parallel Libyan authorities have been on an offensive against the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) since April 2019 to take the Libyan capital Tripoli.
Last April, Zaman Al-Wasl sources confirmed that Libyan pilots from Haftar’s forces had arrived in Damascus to follow training by the Syrian Air Force on the Russian Mi-25 attack helicopters.
The pilots were stationed with the Air Force 64th Brigade at the Beli Military Airport, 20 kilometre south of Damascus where they will follow an intensive training programme for at least six months to be qualified, according to the military source.
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.
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.