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Turkey warns Haftar about attacks in Libya

May 11, 2020 at 2:54 pm

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) meets Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj (L) in Istanbul, Turkey on 15 December 2019. [TURKISH PRESIDENCY/MURAT CETINMUHURDAR/HANDOUT/Anadolu Agency]

Turkey will consider targeting the groups in Libya associated with warlord Khalifa Haftar if the country’s interests in Libya are targeted, the Foreign Ministry in Ankara said on Sunday.

“If our missions and our interests in Libya are targeted, we will deem Haftar’s forces legitimate targets,” said the ministry. The official statement also slammed the UN for not taking action over Haftar’s attacks.

Meanwhile, Libya’s UN-recognised Government of National Accord launched a counterattack on Sunday against a strategic military base used by Haftar to pound the capital Tripoli with rocket fire.

The move came after a missile barrage damaged Tripoli’s main airport and set fuel tanks and several aircraft ablaze. According to Reuters, at least six civilians were killed in surrounding residential areas in the barrage on Saturday.

Libya: Continued clashes between government forces and Haftar’s militia 

Libya’s Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj criticised the international community for staying silent in the face of attacks orchestrated by the self-promoted Field Marshal.

“The terrible crimes committed by Haftar leave us no choice but to respond with an iron fist using all our means,” said the GNA leader. “Such attacks are proof of Haftar’s weakness and despair after successive defeats, in indication of the near end of his bloody ambition to seize power.”

The GNA has been under attack by Haftar’s forces since April last year. UN reports say that more than 1,000 people have been killed in the violence.