Russia has deployed 300 fighters, including eight former members of Daesh, in Libya. The mercenaries, report Syrian sources, came from Deir Ez-Zor in eastern Syria, and are in Libya to support renegade Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
According to Anadolu Agency, the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the fighters belonged to the Fatimiyoun and Zaynabiyoun Brigades, and even Iran’s Al-Quds Force, in addition to the Assad regime’s army. The former Daesh members, they claim, come from the town of Dablan but joined Al-Quds Force under an agreement with the Syrian regime.
The fighters were sent to Libya under a contract with Russia similar to that made by Moscow with hundreds of other fighters sent to Libya from Syria on previous occasions. Each fighter is apparently being given a monthly fee of between $1,000 and $1,500 for a three-month deployment, which is renewable.
In April, Russia trained around 300 fighters from Quneitra in Syria before sending them to fight in Libya. The training took place at a camp near Homs.
On 26 June, the Libyan army announced that at least 11 Russian aircraft carrying Syrian weapons and mercenaries had landed in Sirte Airport.
Haftar’s militia contains a large number of mercenaries from Africa and the Middle East. He has been attacking the Libyan capital, Tripoli, since April last year in an effort to overthrow the internationally recognised Government of National Accord. A recent string of defeats has seen his forces suffer heavy losses.