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Sarraj Appeals to ‘Friendly’ Countries to Counter Haftar Advance on Tripoli

Sarraj Appeals to ‘Friendly’ Countries to Counter Haftar Advance on Tripoli

Saturday, 21 December, 2019 - 07:00
Smoke rises from mortar fire in a suburb of Tripoli in April. (AFP)

Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) appealed on Friday to five "friendly countries" to implement military deals as it seeks to repel the forces of the Libyan National Army, commanded by Khalifa Haftar, to seize the capital.

The call came a day after the GNA approved the activation of such a deal with Ankara, paving the way for a bigger Turkish role eight months into Haftar's offensive.

Tripoli-based GNA head Fayez al-Sarraj sent letters to the leaders of the United States, Britain, Italy, Algeria and Turkey, urging them to "activate security cooperation deals", his office said in a statement.

The aim is to help the GNA "face aggression against the Libyan capital... by any armed group operating outside the legitimacy of the state, to preserve social peace and achieve stability in Libya," he said.

Haftar's April push to seize Tripoli from terrorists backing the GNA made early gains but has stalled on the edges of the capital in a bloody stalemate.

On Friday, the LNA issued a statement demanding that the Misrata militias, which are fighting on behalf of the GNA, withdraw from both Tripoli and the coastal city of Sirte.

Friday's LNA statement warned that if the militias do not withdraw, their town Misrata will continue to be targeted “every day, non stop and in an unprecedentedly intensive way.”

It gave them a three-day deadline to pull out.

The warning came shortly after an LNA airstrike targeted sites where Turkish weapons and military equipment had been stored, said the statement.

According to the latest UN figures on Friday, the fighting has left at least 284 civilians dead and 363 wounded since the April 4 start of the armed conflict that has forced more than 140,000 Libyans to flee their homes.

LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari accused Ankara on Friday of sending ISIS and al-Nusra Front terrorists to Libya.

Turkey should instead enter Libya directly with its soldiers and officers, he added defiantly, warning any country against preventing the LNA from seizing Tripoli.

The LNA will fiercely confront the Turkish invasion, he declared, revealing that the Misrata militias were paving the way for such an attack.

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