Turkish troopsTurkish troops who got deployed in the country on the orders of UN-backed Fayez Al Sarraj’s government. Just days after capturing the city of Sirte, which is known for its strategic coastal location, LNA advances on Misrata.
Since 2014, Libya has been divided into two parts, one governed by Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the capital Tripoli and an opposing wing based in the east and governed by LNA. With more than two-third of Libya under his control, Haftar aims to unify the war-torn country by capturing Tripoli and liberate the country’s oil fields from getting exploited in foreign hands.
On Friday, the local media reported that on its move towards Misrata, LNA killed 3 Turkish soldiers, while 6 others got injured in the combat. The bodies of Turkish soldiers were taken to Misrata airport, whilst the injured were being treated at Nalut hospital.
A prominent LNA commander, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity, said that LNA attacked Misrata as the militants, who had fled Sirte, were returning to the city. LNA acquired Sirte a few days ago, as part of its second rapid operation. LNA’s first rapid operation focused on the liberation of the city’s oil ports.
He said, “The situation is excellent. Our forces are advancing on all fronts amid the collapse in morale of the militias.”
LNA is now heading towards Tripoli to free it from the forces of Sarraj and his loyalist militias. LNA has already captured and taken positions in the Salaheddine area in southern Tripoli, which was earlier under the siege of GNA-backed militias.
The conflict between the opposing sides governing Libya got worse after Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s started deploying Turkish forces in Libya. On Tuesday, the EU chief for foreign policy, Josep Borrell, held a meeting with foreign ministers of European powers including Britain, Italy, Germany, and France, to build pressure on Turkey, preventing it from sending troops to Tripoli and demanding to achieve a ceasefire in Libya.
Besides European Union, United Nations and regional quartet including Egypt, France, Greece, and Cyprus condemned Turkish intervention, which they feared could not only escalate the ongoing Libyan crisis but also lead to conflict in the region.
Erdogan signed a military pact with Sarraj in November 2019, extending a helping hand to GNA, offering to combat the rival forces of Libyan strongman General Khalifa Haftar, in exchange for letting Ankara conduct energy exploration in its region.
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