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Libyan National Army Warns of Qatari, Turkish Moves in Tunisia

Libyan National Army Warns of Qatari, Turkish Moves in Tunisia

Tuesday, 12 May, 2020 - 05:45
Smoke rises from Mitiga Airport in Tripoli, Libya April 13, 2020. (Reuters)
Cairo - Khaled Mahmoud

The Libyan National Army (LNA) questioned a recent statement by the Turkish foreign ministry that threatened to attack the military should it target Ankara's interests in Libya.


LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said the Turkish statement is "misleading because Ankara has been fighting the army since 2014 through its proxies in Libya."


It wasn't up until recently that it became directly involved in the fight, he noted in televised remarks on Sunday.


On the ground, he revealed that the militias that are loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) have retreated somewhat in Tripoli, but they continue to amass their forces near the Okba Ibn Nafa Air Basein al-Watiya.


Mismari also expressed his concern over the growing number of Turkish and Qatari flights landing in regions close to Libyan-Tunisian border.


He said that the activity is part of efforts to set up an administration for the Turks, Qataris and Muslim Brotherhood that are allied with Rached al-Ghannouchi, the Tunisian parliament speaker and founder of the Islamist Ennahda party.


Separately, Mismari criticized the United Nations mission in Libya, accusing it of being biased towards the GNA.


He said the mission "sees and hears with one eye and one ear."


The mission had accused last week the LNA of striking civilian neighborhoods in Tripoli.


On the latest developments in the fighting, a prominent official in the LNA told Asharq Al-Awsat that the military has inched closer to capturing Tripoli.


He revealed that the forces have seized new areas in the southern suburbs of the capital and made progress in the Abou Slim district, forcing the militias to retreat to the Watiya.


The official refused to disclose further details, simply adding: "God willing the coming days will bring many good news."


"Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan will be the most pleased with them," he added sarcastically in reference to the Turkish leader's recent remarks that "good news" will come in from Libya after his forces recently offered military and logistic support to the GNA.


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