The American Foreign Policy Magazine published an article in which it talked about Russia and Turkey's using of Syrian mercenaries in Libya. The newspaper said that a Syrian man called Mohammed Abo al-Saar used to work a car mechanic. He has previously been held in the Syrian regime's prisons and now is working as a mercenary in Libya.
Al-Saar, like his Syrian peers, participated in demonstrations against the Syrian regime, and on the day he was released, he took up arms to avenge, guard his city, and enter a new era of "political freedom."
Eight years later, he turned into a mercenary who was hired to fight with his companions against other Syrians more than 1,200 miles away in Libya.
Al-Saar is among the Syrian mercenaries that Turkey has pushed to fight alongside the forces of the National Accord Government; one of the parties claiming eligibility in power in the protracted Libyan conflict which began with an uprising against Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and later turned into a battle of lucrative oil deals and regional influence.
The United Nations recognizes the National Accord Government backed by the Muslim Brotherhood; a group that promotes political Islam with the support of allies such as the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Al-Saar who is 38 years old and has four children has turned from a rebel to a mercenary in the result of the endless war in Syria.
In 2014, the regime took control of Homs city, and al-Saar moved with his family to the rebel-controlled Aleppo. There, he joined the mercenaries of al-Sultan Morad; a group consisting mainly of Syrian Turkmens who were trained and funded by Turkey. Turkey supported the rebels, but summoned them to fight for its own interests.
Al-Saar is Arab, not Turkmen, but he chose to join the mercenaries of al-Sultan Morad to earn a living. In 2018, he was among the mercenaries whom Turkey hired to overthrow the People Protection Units (YPG) and hundreds of thousands of civilians in Afrin city in northern Syria.
Turkey used to pay al-Saar for his fight in Afrin 450 Turkish liras which is a small salary equivalent to 46 dollars a month, but fighting in Libya is a more profitable task.
Al-Saar told the magazine, "During the four months I spent in Libya, I have gained more than the years of fighting in Syria. I make $ 2,000 a month."
While Turkey flooded Libya with its Syrian agents and provided them with drones and modern air defense systems. In March, Russia resorted to the Syrians to get reinforcements to fight in Libya for money.
The Syrian rebels say that the man in charge of leading this recruitment campaign is Colonel Alexander Zorin who in 2016 worked as an envoy to the Russian Ministry of Defense in the Geneva-based task force to stop hostilities in Syria. Zorin is known in Syria as the sponsor of reconciliation deals between the regime and the rebels in al-Ghouta, Daraa, and Quneitra.
A Russian source confirmed that Zorin visited southern Syria in early April; an area believed to be particularly fertile ground for Russian recruitment, not only because of widespread poverty, but also because of the lack of support from any other regional or global power there, and many rebels in the region had already shifted their loyalty to al-Assad in July 2018 after the United States refused to help them.
In cooperation with al-Assad's intelligence officials, Zorin is believed to have begun negotiations with a number of rebel groups to send them to fight in Libya.
Abo Tareq, the leader of a rebel group that fought ISIS in Quneitra in southern Syria told Foreign Policy that he met Zorin and agreed to go to Libya with his fighters."
Abo Tareq said: "We met him and told us that we are going to Libya with the security company (Wagner). He made a generous offer of $ 5,000 a month to the commander, and $ 1,000 to the fighter. Of course, we agreed because the financial situation was terrible in our region."
Abo Tareq added that the rebels were tempted not only with money, but also to forgive those who fled the recruitment.
The leader of another rebel group in southern Syria Abo Jaafar transported over a hundred young men for training them by the Russians at a training base in Homs in mid-April.
However, Abo Tareq, Abo Jaafar, and the men fighting within their ranks soon discovered that they had been misled, and were tempted that they would only guard the oil installations in eastern Libya, but when they arrived at their training center in Homs, they discovered that they would go to fight and die in Libya, and that the salary would be much less than they had been promised, only about $ 200.
Russia has found it difficult to build a Syrian force for fighting in Libya, but Libyan analysts say the Syrians are already present in eastern Libya.
Anas al-Kemati, the founder and director of a Public Politics Research Center says, "Haftar and al-Assad regime have a strong relationship, and the loyalists have been dispatched to Libya in recent months."