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Libya: Sarraj Forces Receive Turkish Military Reinforcements Despite Int’l Ban

Libya: Sarraj Forces Receive Turkish Military Reinforcements Despite Int’l Ban

Monday, 20 May, 2019 - 08:45
The Turkish-made armored personnel vehicles, shipped to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA), arriving at Tripoli port. AFP
Cairo - Khalid Mahmoud
The Libyan National Army (LNA) vowed to destroy the Turkish military reinforcements, sent to forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, in the clashes taking place on the outskirts of the capital Tripoli.

There have been sharp differences between pro-Sarraj militias over the reinforcements that are aimed at confronting the “Fatah Mubeen” operation launched by the LNA led by Marshal Khalifa Hafter to liberate the capital, a military source told Asharq al-Awsat.

The source, who asked not to be named, explained that not all militias received armored vehicles. Misrata had the largest share, followed by al-Nawasi brigade, which includes extremists, then the militias of Usama al-Juwaili.

“Burkan al-Ghadab” operation launched by Sarraj’s forces, announced on its Facebook page that the government provided its forces defending Tripoli with armor and ammunition, in preparation for what it described as “an extensive process" to restore security in Libya.

The GNA did not disclose the source of the military supplies, but pictures and video recordings showed dozens of Turkish-made armored vehicles, as well as military vehicles being unloaded from a cargo ship named “Amazon”, which according to VesselFinder website, carried the flag of Moldova and arrived from Samson port in northern Turkey.

While there was no official comment from the government, a spokesman assured to Agence France Presse (AFP) the arrival of military reinforcements without disclosing their source.

A GNA spokesman announced earlier this month that the government contacted Turkey to obtain necessary supplies to stop Haftar’s offensive.

However, the LNA played down the delivery of the armored vehicles, saying they could be easily targeted with RPGs.

Karama operations media center said in a statement that the armored vehicles were originally anti-riot vehicles, and can be destroyed with anti-armor weapons. Their large size makes them easy targets in the streets, said the center.

The National Security and Defense Parliamentary Committee condemned the “strange and unacceptable” silence of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) towards the violation of the international arms embargo.

The committee also denounced the unlimited support of Qatar and Turkey for ISIS and al-Qaeda terrorist organizations in Tripoli, calling on the United Nations and the UN Security Council to take urgent action to stop blatant interference by these countries in Libyan affairs.

In order to allow the entrance of weapons into the country, a United Nations Group of Experts must approve that.

However, the United Nations confirms that the ban is repeatedly violated by various forces in Libya, where Haftar accuses Turkey and Qatar of sending weapons to his opponents in Sarraj’s government.

Burkan al-Ghadab operation issued a press statement saying that after 44 days of what it described as a “failed coup attempt”, Sarraj’s forces are steadfast in defending Tripoli.

The operation explained that Central Military Zone forces stationed in the southern and eastern axes continue their operations, claiming LNA is responsible for chaos and instability in the south.

It also called on civilians in areas of clashes to communicate with them to facilitate their evacuation in coordination with humanitarian organizations.

Burkan al-Ghadab spokesman Mustafa al-Majei told Xinhua news agency that the air force targeted LNA sites, adding that the situation was relatively stable except for an infiltration attempt by Haftar’s forces on the airport road axes. 

In other news, LNA announced that 20 ISIS fighters were killed in the attack on the checkpoint near the entrance of the oil-rich town of Zillah.

Murada fighting brigade tasked with securing the Zillah oil basin announced that Zillah Martyrs Brigade was able to kill 20 ISIS terrorists who attacked the oil field. In addition, two brigade members were slaughtered in the attack, and four of the oilfield guards were kidnapped.

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