Duvar English

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that “several” Turkish soldiers were killed in Libya, as he confirmed for the first time that Ankara sent Syrian rebels to the war-torn country.

“We have several martyrs, but in return we neutralized nearly 100 legionaries,” Erdoğan said in a speech in the western province of İzmir on Feb. 22, while refraining from saying when and how the soldiers died.

Turkey supports the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli and sent dozens of military training personnel after the two countries signed a series of deals last year.

The GNA has been under sustained attack for months from eastern-based renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar, whose principal backers include the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt.

A day earlier, Erdoğan said that the Syrian National Army, a Syrian rebel group backed by Turkey, was also sent to Libya.

“Turkey is there with a training force. There are also people from the Syrian National Army,” Erdoğan told reporters in Istanbul on Feb. 21.

Separately, one Turkish soldier was killed in a Syrian army attack in Idlib on Feb. 22.