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Libya’s GNA Seizes Another Town

Libya’s GNA Seizes Another Town

Thursday, 21 May, 2020 - 16:45
Damage is seen following shelling at Tripoli's Mitiga airport in Tripoli, Libya May 10, 2020. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny
Asharq Al-Awsat

Forces allied with Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) said on Thursday that they have wrestled another key town from the Libyan National Army (LNA) of Khalifa Haftar.

Mohamed Gnono, spokesman for the Tripoli-allied forces, announced in a statement posted on social media the fall of the town of al-Asabaa, about 50 kilometers south of Tripoli.

Al-Asabaa is located on a key road that links Haftar's forces besieging Tripoli to Tarhuna, their main western stronghold and supply line southeast of the capital.

On Monday, the GNA of Fayez al-Sarraj seized al-Watiya airbase in Tripoli's southwestern desert reaches.

LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari reiterated that there were 1,500 Turkish military personnel on Libyan soil, fighting on behalf of the GNA.

“The battle is continuing against terrorism, against the Turkish and against the extremists,” he said at a news conference on Thursday.

Turkey has sent armored drones, air defenses and more recently Syrian militants with links to extremist groups to prop up the GNA.

On Wednesday, Haftar’s forces announced they would withdraw up to 3 kilometers from the front line around Tripoli in a humanitarian gesture aimed at giving the residents a respite from the fighting to celebrate Eid al-Fitr.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday that Sergei Lavrov had a call with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavudoglu, and that they underlined the need for an immediate ceasefire in Libya and the resumption of a political process based on decisions made at a conference in Berlin earlier this year.

Turkey warned that attacks on its interests in Libya by Haftar's forces will have "very grave consequences.”

"In the event Turkish interests in Libya are targeted, this will have very grave consequences," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said. Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin was quoted as saying by broadcaster NTV that attacks on Turkish positions would prompt heavy retaliation.

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