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Mounting Anger in Turkey after Losses in Watiya Raid

Mounting Anger in Turkey after Losses in Watiya Raid

Wednesday, 8 July, 2020 - 06:30
Turkey released maps of the deployment of GNA forces towards the coast city of Sirte. (Reuters)
Ankara – Saeed Abdulrazek

Turkey released maps of the deployment of allied Government of National Accord forces in Libya towards the coast city of Sirte. It also released maps of the deployment of the Russian Wagner Group forces in the north African country.


The development took place amid mounting anger in Turkey after the air raid that heavily damaged its air defense systems in the western al-Watiya airbase in Libya.


The maps showed Wagner forces deployed at the Sharara oil field, al-Houn, the Tamanhint (Sabha) airbase, al-Jufra base and Sukana. They also showed the GNA forces and militias advancing towards Libyan National Army (LNA) positions at the Gharibya airbase near Sirte and al-Jufra base in the south.


In Ankara, Turkish sources confirmed the authorities’ extreme anger over the raid against the Watiya base and the damage inflicted on Turkish air defense systems. Turkish officials warned that the attack will escalate the conflict in Libya.


Turkey, however, will exercise caution before pointing blame over the raid, said the sources, but they speculated that the incident will not pass without retaliation.


Turkish media quoted a military official as saying that the attack was a “grave mistake that will not go unpunished.” He added that Dassault Mirage 2000 jets likely carried out the strike.


Observers linked the operation to Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi’s declaration that Sirte and Jufra were “red lines” for Cairo. They also noted that it took place shortly after a French frigate under NATO command tried to inspect a Tanzanian-flagged cargo ship suspected of smuggling arms to Libya in violation of a UN embargo. The French armed forces ministry said the frigate was harassed by three Turkish navy vessels escorting the cargo ship.


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