Turkey Says Ready against LNA Threats | Asharq AL-awsat

The strategic town of Gharyan retaken on June 26 by forces loyal to Libya's internationally recognised government served as a main supply base for strongman Khalifa Haftar in his offensive to take the capital Tripoli

The strategic town of Gharyan retaken on June 26 by forces loyal to Libya's internationally recognised government served as a main supply base for strongman Khalifa Haftar in his offensive to take the capital Tripoli

Libya was plunged into a bloody power struggle between an array of militias following a NATO-backed uprising that led to dictator Moamer Kadhafi's downfall and death in 2011.

Likewise, the Libyan Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord (GNA) has issued a statement condemning the threats against Turkey and Turkish interests and nationals inside Libya by the spokesman for Khalifa Haftar's forces Ahmed Al-Mismari.

Dozens of pro-Haftar fighters were killed in the clashes some 100 kilometres south of the capital, with at least 18 taken prisoner, a GNA spokesman said. The town was a key supply route for Hifter's forces pushing toward the capital.

Mesmari said orders had been given to the LNA "air force to target Turkish ships and boats in Libyan territorial waters". His comments were carried by the official Anadolu news agency. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

The LNA, which is allied to a parallel government in the east, has failed to take Tripoli but it commands air superiority.

Mr Bediri called on rights groups to investigate the killing in Gharyan saying the LNA troops were killed earlier during the fighting.

"Should this not happen, Haftar elements will become legitimate targets". "We are aware of these reports and are seeking additional information", a State Department spokesperson said.

"The weapons themselves are highly advanced but wouldn't be a game changer in Libya", he said.

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Haftar accuses his rivals of receiving Turkish military assistance. "If Hifter has given such an order, we'll get that evaluated", he said.

The Javelin anti-tank missile launchers left by Haftar's forces were originally sold to the United Arab Emirates, a close US ally, according to photos released by the Tripoli-based government.

The U.A.E. and Egypt, while supporting the LNA's self-proclaimed fight against terrorism, have urged a return to stability so Libya can hold elections.

It's a question that's being asked by Libya's internationally-recognised government in Tripoli and in Washington as well.

In a press conference late Saturday, Mr Al Mesmari said their airstrikes would continue on Gharyan and outskirts of Tripoli.

On Sunday, Haftar's forces said they destroyed a Turkish drone in a strike on an airport in Tripoli.

Turkey has a keen interest in Libya, which was part of the Ottoman Empire until 1912 when the north African country was conquered by Italy.

In addition to the USA missiles, Haftar's fighters who fled Gharyan left behind Nimr combat vehicles produced by the U.A.E., Mohammed Qannuno, a military spokesman for the UN-backed administration, told reporters.

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