Demonstrations in Libyan capital and heightened security in Tunisia

TRIPOLI / TUNIS — On Tuesday, demonstrations spread across the Libyan capital of Tripoli condemning the presence of Syrian mercenaries brought into the country by Turkey, as well as the poor public services in the capital. Meanwhile, a state of alert has gripped Tunisia after fears that Syrian mercenaries in Libya might sneak across its borders.

The protests in the Libyan capital called for better public services amid repeated power outages. However, during the protests, demonstrators began airing concerns about a separate issue: the proliferation of Syrian mercenaries sent to the country by Turkey to support the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by Fayez al-Sarraj.

Thousands of mercenaries, mostly Syrian but hundreds from other nationalities, have flooded Tripoli since Turkey began sending them to the country earlier this year. The demonstrators condemned the spread of the Turkish-backed mercenaries and the danger they might bring into the country, especially after instances of looting and extortion against Libyans.

Libyan military sources revealed that disputes between the mercenaries and Al-Sarraj militias in Tripoli have taken place due to either ideological differences or their desire to take control of the decision-making processes in the region.

The presence of the mercenaries in Libya has irked neighboring countries, including Tunisia, which has been living in a state of alert fearing that they might sneak across the border.

In a report published on Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) revealed that 10,000 fighters had been sent to Libya to date, including 2,500 holders of Tunisian citizenship.

Earlier, Tunisian Defense Minister Imad al-Hazqi stated that his country had increased its security measures along the borders after recording attempts of to illegally cross into Tunisia from Libya.