On 5 September, journalists John Lechner and S. Asher published an article entitled ‘Inside the Bloody Business of Turkey’s Syrian Mercenaries’ for The National Interest. In the article, they explain how following General Khalifa Haftar’s offensive against the Government of National Accord (GNA) in 2019, the GNA requested Turkish military support.
Lechner and Asher explain that Turkish intelligence began recruiting Syrian mercenaries, which is expanded upon in an interview with Ahmed al-Hamzat, a contractor who helped send mercenaries to Libya and ended up near the frontlines. Al-Hamzat recalls being forced into battle in Libya, purchasing and selling weapons on the black market, and only receiving a quarter of his wages. Lechner and Asher assert that this experience was commonplace with ‘callous profit-seeking’ defining Turkey’s mercenary program. They interviewed Abo Saied, a former recruiter for a Turkish-backed militia, who confirmed salary confiscation as common practice. Saied also explained that as there were not enough recruits, some fighters were underage, many had no military experience, and more often than not the fighters had no interest or motivation in what they were doing. Lechner and Asher also found that in Libya the recruits were told they were fighting Assad’s regime, and that the Russian Wagner Group PMCs also had recruited Syrians to fight the LNA at this time.
You can read the full article here.