Published: Mon, July 01, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Turkey Says Ready against LNA Threats | Asharq AL-awsat

Turkey Says Ready against LNA Threats | Asharq AL-awsat

Earlier on Friday, Haftar's spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari announced a ban on commercial flights from Libya to Turkey and ordered his forces to attack Turkish ships and interests in the country.

Turkey's Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar says the "price of hostile attitudes or attacks will be heavy", referring to recent threats by Libyan militia leader Khalifa Haftar.

He also stressed that Ankara's aim in Libya is to "contribute to peace and stability in the region".

U.A.E. officials didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, though officials in the past have publicly backed efforts to stabilize Libya and hold elections.

The LNA, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, controls much of the country's east and south.

Libya's east-based army announced Sunday that it has destroyed a Turkish-made drone aircraft of the UN-backed government in the capital Tripoli's M'etiga worldwide airport.

Notably, Mitiga was the only functioning civilian airport in Tripoli.Libya has been largely divided into two factions ever since the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The United States said Saturday it was looking into a report that American anti-tank missiles were found by forces loyal to Libya's unity government at a captured rebel base.

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He also said his Libyan National Army (LNA) force would attack any Turkish military presence, without elaborating.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed his country backs the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and provides weapons to it under a "military cooperation agreement".

The missiles were apparently discovered earlier this week when forces loyal to the Government of National Accord recaptured the strategic town of Gharyan in a surprise attack, seizing the main supply base for Haftar's Tripoli offensive. This was followed by a separate statement from the foreign ministry proclaiming that six Turkish nationals were held captive by the LNA, and then Haftar's LNA claim of an air strike and shooting down of the Turkish drone.

He emphasised Turkey's push to support a political solution in Libya would continue and said Turkish efforts were in line with worldwide law and agreements.

Haftar has the backing of the UAE and Egypt and accuses Turkey and Qatar of supporting the GNA.

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

United Nations reports have previously said that the UAE and Egypt have been arming Haftar's Libya National Army (LNA) since 2014, but details have been unclear.

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