Ankara launches major offensive in Libya / News / News agency Inforos
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Ankara launches major offensive in Libya

On March 10, 2020, the Muslim Brotherhood, supported by Turkey, launched a large-scale offensive against formations of the Libyan National Army

Ankara launches major offensive in Libya

The Libyan National Army command possessed information on preparations for a decisive offensive in Tripoli by the Government of National Accord. The official statement was made by General Ahmad al-Mismari, a representative of the Libyan National Army (LNA, led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar).

According to head of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdul Rahman, since the beginning of this year, Turkey has transferred 4,750 fighters from the Sultan Murad Division, the Northern Hawks Brigade, the al-Hamzat Brigade and the Suleyman Shah Brigade to Libya from the Syrian province of Idlib. Moreover, 200 Islamic militants trained under agreements with Turkey at military bases in Italy were sent to Libya as part of bilateral cooperation between NATO partners.

Besides, about 2,000 trained fighters withdrawn from Syria for active service alongside Fayez al-Sarraj's Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya, were brought to that country from training centers in Turkey.

Thus, fighting against Marshal Haftar's units is a 10-thousand-strong group of Islamic radicals backed by the Turkish armed forces.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan does not conceal his country's military presence in Libya. According to raw data alone, there are 500 to 1,000 Turkish troops stationed in Libya. Erdogan consistently stresses that not a single Turkish soldier or officer is involved in combat actions. The Turkish contingent allegedly provides professional training to units of Fayez al-Sarraj's government.

At the same time, Turkish media are actively discussing an Ankara blogger sentenced to nine years in prison for his post about the funeral of a Turkish intelligence officer killed in Tripoli. At the same time, the journalist openly referred to information received from the Turkish Parliament's opposition deputy speaker.

According to the LNA command, Turkey has now delivered several hundred pieces of armored equipment, artillery systems, a large number of anti-tank guided missiles, and portable anti-aircraft missile systems to the Muslim Brotherhood units fighting with al-Sarraj.

Erdogan's alleged eye sore was the engagement of up to 2,500 Russians from the Wagner private military company on the side of Haftar's LNA. Upon his arrival in Ankara following the March 5 talks in Moscow, the Turkish leader said he managed to take the issue off the table. What Erdogan was trying to say is obscure: perhaps an agreement on the evacuation of Russians? But one can hardly expect their urgently leaving Libya ahead of a major battle being prepared by the Turks in Tripoli. Besides, we have to doubt that the Russian President could promise his Turkish counterpart a quick and painless withdrawal of Russian military specialists from this North African Arab country.  

According to the Arab regional newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, a few days ago Damascus hosted talks between President Bashar al-Assad and Marshal Khalifa Haftar, involving the heads of intelligence services of Syria, Libya and Egypt. It was about consolidating activities aimed at integrating efforts to stop Turkey's expansion against the Arab countries.

One way or another, the military situation in Libya has escalated sharply. The LNA command possessed information on the enemy's upcoming offensive and was most probably able to make the subordinate troops ready to hedgehog defense. There is a good chance that moves by Marshal Haftar's army will find support in some Arab countries, primarily Egypt with its sufficient forces and resources. In the first instance, combat aircraft, as the case has been before.

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