Turkey sends soldiers to Libya, fortifications at Al-Watiya Air Base

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Sun, 11 Oct 2020 - 02:57 GMT

FILE PHOTO: Libyan National Army (LNA) members head out of Benghazi to reinforce troops advancing towards Tripoli, in Benghazi, Libya, April 7, 2019. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Libyan National Army (LNA) members head out of Benghazi to reinforce troops advancing towards Tripoli, in Benghazi, Libya, April 7, 2019. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori/File Photo

CAIRO -11 October 2020: Sources from the Libyan Armed Forces revealed that Turkey withdrew 1500 Syrian mercenaries and sent hundreds of Turkish soldiers instead to western Libya, which represents deception and fraud of international decisions.

 

The sources, who asked to stay anonymous, told Sky News Arabia that with this step, Turkey is trying to delude the international community that it is complying with the decisions to withdraw mercenaries from Libya, while reinforcing its presence with regular soldiers and in larger numbers.

 

Three days ago, the Turkish Ministry of Defense published a tweet stating that “within the scope of the training, cooperation, and military consultations agreement," Turkish teams in the disposal of explosive ordnance in Libya destroy mines, explosive devices and ammunition in the regions of Tajoura, Aqaba, Homs, and Misrata.

 

The tweet confirms the information on the recent extensive recruitment of Turkish regular soldiers.

 

The sources stated that the mercenaries who were transferred by Turkey from Libya were affiliated with extremely dangerous terrorist factions, such as the Hamzat Brigade, Sultan Murad, and Second Legion militias, and received monthly salaries.

 

These militants appeared repeatedly in video clips on social media, demanding Ankara to pay their salaries.

 

The sources indicated that the last ten days witnessed the operation of 36 flights by the Turkish military aviation, which was monitored by air traffic tracking sites.Libyan intelligence sources and eyewitnesses confirmed that these flights reduced the number of soldiers in return for transporting mercenaries to Azerbaijan.

 

The burden of mercenaries

 

The sources noted that the Syrian mercenaries had previously caused clashes among the local Libyan militias for moral and financial reasons, which prompted Turkey to transfer them outside Libya for fear of weakening its front in western Libya.

 

The capital, Tripoli, has also witnessed terrorist operations by these factions, as Libyan intelligence sources said that these operations may have taken place without prior coordination with Turkish intelligence regarding timing and objectives, which caused embarrassment to some international forces supporting their presence on Libyan soil.

 

Among these events wasthe terrorist suicide bombing near the headquarters of the UN mission in the Janzour region, west of Tripoli, in September2020.

 

According to Libyan security sources' explanations, such events prompted Turkish intelligence to expel the aforementioned militants from Libya, but at the same time, they pushed more Turkish soldiers.

 

What is happening at the Al-Wattaya base?

 

These developments were accompanied by exceptional preparations inside the Al-Wattaya military base controlled by Turkey in the far west of Libya.

 

According to circulating information and images, Al-Wattayah airport is witnessing the deployment of high-level forces, as the Turkish army is securing the vicinity of Al-Wattayah base in anticipation for the presence of mines and the imminent arrival of six warplanes at the airport. This is in addition to reports related to attempts of Tripoli's Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj to bring in Pakistani pilots to western Libya.

 

Visits and arrangements

 

Observers have linked the monthly visits of Minister of Defense in the Tripoli government Salah al-Nimroush to Ankara, his meeting with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, the movements and preparations of the pro-Turkey Libyan militias, and their announcement of the alert in more than one location in western Libya.

 

Among the sites that announced the general mobilization are Misurata and Sirte, despite international and regional political efforts and tracks aimed at finding a solution to the Libyan crisis.

 

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Doha and met with Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, on October 7, in his second visit in less than three months.The sources indicated that the meeting included a discussion of their terrorist alliance and means of financing in more than one location, most notably in Libya and the Caucasus region.

 

This also comes accompanied by intense Brotherhood contacts with Doha and Ankara, which included a lengthy phone call between the Emir of Qatar, and the Brotherhood's Khaledal-Mishri, ahead of the Berlin Conference, and included a visit by Sarraj to Ankara to meet Erdogan at the same time.

 

All of this came two days after the Berlin 2 conference, which emphasized the need to support a political solution in Libya, and reinforcing it with effective steps, including the withdrawal of foreign and mercenary forces from Libya and the embargo on the supply of weapons.

 

Libya has been marred in violence between competing forces, militias, and extremists since the toppling and killing of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The conflict now pits the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) against the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal KhalifaHaftar, for control of the country.

 

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