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LNA Commander to Asharq Al-Awsat: Army Does Not Meddle in Management of Oil Ports

LNA Commander to Asharq Al-Awsat: Army Does Not Meddle in Management of Oil Ports

Tuesday, 21 January, 2020 - 07:15
Salem Diryaq.
Cairo - Khaled Mahmoud

Major General Salem Diryaq, the commander of the Libyan National Army’s operations in greater Sirte, stressed that the situation was “normal” at oil ports that are controlled and protected by the military.


He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The LNA does not meddle in the management of the oil ports and fields, but it only executes the orders issued by the general command.”


These orders could be the protection of the installations or countering any attack against them, he explained.


He cited the role of the armed guards at the installations that also play a role in protecting and securing them from the inside.


The LNA operates on the outside to protect them from any armed assault that targets the livelihood of the Libyan people, Diryaq stated.


Moreover, he said that the export of oil had resumed and its production had increased. The latest such example was the polyethylene plant at the Ras Lanuf petrochemical complex that resumed operation in October after a nearly five-year halt.


“This is a major achievement in such as record short period of time” given the security challenges in the area, he declared.


Diryaq is one of the commanders of the lightening operation the LNA had carried out to capture oil ports and fields. He was appointed to the greater Sirte operations command after the last battle in the “oil crescent” in 2018. Greater Sirte includes the oil crescent and Zueitina oil export port and extends some 200 kilometers beyond the Sirte city.


Turning to the ceasefire in areas under LNA control, Diryaq said: “We have orders to counter any surprise attack. We are completely ready to thwart any attack.”


“We follow the orders of the general command of the armed forces,” he stressed.


In contrast, the militias that are loyal to the Government of National Accord are undisciplined and they do not follow a single line of command, he told Asharq Al-Awsat.


He cited the frequent clashes around Tripoli and the militias’ violation of the truce. The LNA has held back and refrained from retaliating in line with the orders of the general command, he explained.


“The LNA has not abandoned the idea of entering Tripoli and Misrata city in its efforts to eliminate terrorist gangs and militias that have sowed destruction in Libya for nine years,” he added.


Asked about the presence of Turkish forces in Libya, Diryaq said the fighters in the oil crescent and Sirte regions have not directly encountered any Turks. “We were instead targeted by Turkish drones in the al-Washka area on several occasions,” he revealed.


Al-Washka lies some 200 kms west of Sirte.


“We do not fear the Turkish drones because we believe that our cause, which is the defense our land and people, is just,” he stressed.


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