According to local Syrian sources, soldiers affiliated with Bashar Al-Assad’s regime have fled to join the militia of retired Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in Libya due to the regime’s failure to pay their salaries.
The sources told Anadolu Agency that the Syrian regime is struggling to pay soldiers’ salaries due to increasing economic challenges caused by the ongoing war in the country.
The same sources added that many regime soldiers and pro-regime militias in the governorates of Hama, Homs and Aleppo are seeking to join Haftar’s forces in Libya, due to the interruption of their salaries.
The sources also pointed out that many of those fighters defected from the army to fight in Libya in exchange for money.
The sources explained that the Russian Khmeimim Air Base in the Latakia governorate overlooking the Mediterranean Sea had been transformed into a recruitment centre for mercenaries to send to Libya and Venezuela.
The sources indicated that accepted mercenaries are required to complete mandatory military service in order to be allowed to leave Syria. However, those wishing to earn money try to circumvent this condition by purchasing ID cards belonging to men exempt from military service.
With the outbreak of the popular revolution in 2011 and the imposition of economic sanctions on the regime, the decades-long, worsening economic crisis in Syria has reached its peak.