Turkey mulls sending allied Syrian fighters to Libya

Turkey-backed Syrian fighters gather at a position east of the northeastern Syrian town of Ras Al-Ain. Turkey’s presidency sent a motion to parliament to approve a military deployment in Tripoli. (File/AFP)
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Updated 31 December 2019

Turkey mulls sending allied Syrian fighters to Libya

  • Turkey has not yet sent any Syrian fighters as part of the planned deployment
  • Video circulated online purportedly showing Syrian fighters deployed by Turkey in Libya was false

ANKARA: Turkey is considering sending allied Syrian fighters to Libya as part of its planned military support for the embattled government in Tripoli, four senior Turkish sources said on Monday, with one adding that Ankara was leaning toward the idea.
Turkey has not yet sent any Syrian fighters as part of the planned deployment, they told Reuters, on condition of anonymity.
Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government would deploy troops to Libya after Fayez Al-Serraj’s increasingly weak UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) requested support.
Turkey-backed Syrian fighters spearheaded a Turkish military incursion into northeast Syria in October targeting a Kurdish militia. Ankara also backs Syrian rebels in the northwest province of Idlib in Syria’s nearly nine-year civil war.
“It is currently not the case that Turkey is sending (Syrian rebel fighters) to Libya. But evaluations are being made and meetings are being held on this issue, and there is a tendency to go in this direction,” said one high-ranking Turkish official.
“There is no final decision on how many members will go there,” the official added.
The two senior Turkish officials and two security officials spoke to Reuters. It was unclear whether Ankara was mulling sending Syrian fighters as part of the first deployment.
Forces loyal to Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar — supported by Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jordan — have failed to reach the center of Tripoli but have made small gains in recent weeks with the help of Russian and Sudanese fighters, as well as drones shipped by the UAE, diplomats say.
The GNA said on Sunday that a video circulating online purportedly showing Syrian fighters deployed by Turkey in Libya was false and actually shot in the Syrian province of Idlib. Reuters could not independently verify the footage.
EXPERIENCED FIGHTERS
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, citing sources, said that 300 pro-Turkey Syrian fighters had been transferred to Libya and that others were training in Turkish camps.
“The military’s experience abroad will be very useful in Libya. However, there is the possibility of using the experience of Syrian fighters as well...and this is being evaluated,” said a Turkish security official.
“After parliament accepts the mandate, a step may be taken in this direction,” the person added.
Ankara signed two separate accords with the GNA last month: one on security and military cooperation and another on maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean.
The maritime deal ends Turkey’s isolation at sea as it ramps up offshore energy exploration that has alarmed Greece and other neighbors. The military deal would preserve its lone ally in the region, Tripoli, while preserving private investments in Libya including by Turkish construction firms.
In Syria, Turkey opposes President Bashar Assad. Its military has teamed up with rebel forces to carry out three cross-border incursions since 2016 against Daesh and the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia.


Yoga can help corona patients breathe easy, says Egyptian expert

Updated 11 min 32 sec ago

Yoga can help corona patients breathe easy, says Egyptian expert

  • "Yoga can actually help to avoid injury and to stay stable in every position"

CAIRO: It is well documented that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) can have severe effects on the respiratory system, causing difficulty in breathing as well as chest pains.

With no specific cure discovered yet, it has been suggested that yoga techniques can help breathe easy.

According to yoga experts, breathing is the most important part of yoga.

“When it comes to a productive yoga routine, settling your mind, relaxing, centering yourself, and breathing are the most important steps to master," Egyptian yoga instructor Rana Moustafa told Arab News.

Pharmacologist Louis J. Ignarro, Nobel Prize winner in Physiology in 1998, and Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology in the University of California, Los Angeles, wrote an article recently explaining how breathing properly can help to fight COVID-19

"Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. It’s not just something you do in yoga class; breathing this way actually provides a powerful medical benefit that can help the body fight viral infections.

"The reason is that your nasal cavities produce the molecule, nitric oxide, which chemists abbreviate as NO. It increases blood flow through the lungs and boosts oxygen levels in the blood. Breathing in through the nose delivers NO directly into the lungs where it helps fight coronavirus infection by blocking the replication of virus in the lungs. The higher oxygen saturation of the blood can make one feel more refreshed and provide greater endurance," he wrote.

Rana explained that deep breathing "lowers stress levels by decreasing heart rate. When you breathe correctly, it redirects the flow of energy within your body, and also boosts your immunity, and improves both lung function and respiratory endurance."

"The things that happen when you are stressed, such as increasing heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax the whole body," the Egyptian yoga instructor emphasized.

"The most beautiful thing about yoga is that it’s available to anyone and everyone. Yoga is for any age and fitness level. The poses can be easily modified for different skill levels or if someone has an injury or condition. Not only that, but there are several types of yoga to choose from," said Rana.

"Yoga can actually help to avoid injury and to stay stable in every position."