Libyan political and military leaders ruled out that the Turkish incursion in northern Syria could affect Ankara's support for the Government of National Accord (GNA) forces in the capital, Tripoli.
“Turkey will not stop its support for the armed militias,” Director of the Media Center of the Libyan National Army's (LNA) Dignity Operations Room Brigadier-General Khalid al-Mahjoub told Asharq Al-Awsat.
He explained that the battle in Tripoli is a profitable market for Turkey to dispose of some of its military exports, adding that its consensus with Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood makes the battle in Tripoli fateful for Ankara.
“The only way to deter Turkey from sabotaging our country is to force it not to export arms to the militias in Tripoli,” the military commander said.
He, however, added that the LNA doesn’t hope or seek to resolve the problem at the expense of others, affirming that it has vowed to win the battle to liberate Tripoli from the grip of terrorism and has declared its ability to do so from the beginning.
Regarding the possibility of ISIS militants’ fleeing from Syria to Libya, Mahjoub said the LNA is aware of this, pointing to more than one port through which these elements can infiltrate, such as Misrata and Zuwara airports, both of which are under the GNA control.
Yet, he said news on LNA’s victories and liquidation of the terrorist elements who have preceded them to Libya might let them reconsider their plan.
Mahjoub said the results of the United States Africa Command’s (AFRICOM) strikes in southern Libya, in coordination with the GNA, could be in favor of the LNA General Command.
“Despite our ability to cover all fronts, AFRICOM’s recent strikes, which killed 47 terrorist elements in the south, have reduced the pressure on us and paved the way for our land strikes there,” he explained.
“This has also contributed to maintaining our full focus on further advancement in the battle in Tripoli,” he further noted.
Mahjoub stressed that the US strikes were an explicit recognition of the terrorist elements’ presence in the south, which has reinforced the LNA’s credibility.
MP Ali Saeedi, for his part, told Asharq Al-Awsat that AFRICOM’s strikes can’t eliminate terrorism alone despite the significance of their results, stressing that people in the south mainly rely on LNA’s role in this regard.