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Turkey Prepares Drones for Sirte Battle

Turkey Prepares Drones for Sirte Battle

Thursday, 16 July, 2020 - 10:00
A warplane belonging to eastern Libyan forces, July 22, 2019 (File photo: Reuters)
Ankara - Saeed Abdul Razzak

Turkey said it has deployed ‘Bayraktar’ drones in Misrata and said the airbase will be used in a possible military operation in the Libyan eastern city of Sirte.

Media reports claimed that satellite images revealed the locations of drones around the Misrata base and that elements of the Turkish forces and militias loyal to the GNA had established shelters during the past few weeks south of the airbase to be used in the expected military operation and the attack on Jufra base.

Turkey has successfully used ‘Bayraktar’ drones in military operations in northern Syria and in the vicinity of the capital, Tripoli, to support the Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by Fayez al-Sarraj.

Last Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said there are military preparation taking place in Sirte, noting that withdrawal of Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, from Sirte and Jufra has been discussed with Russia, which is a condition for a ceasefire in Libya.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi warned Turkey and GNA that any assault on the coastal city of Sirte is a “red line” for Egypt.

Also, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry responded to the Turkish minister's statement saying it was “a clear violation of international law and UN resolutions on Libya.”

Meanwhile, Turkey and the GNA are discussing possible Turkish use of the Misrata naval base and al-Watiya airbase.

“Turkey using al-Watiya ... is on the agenda,” Reuters quoted a Turkish source as saying, adding that “it could also be possible for the Misrata naval base to be used by Turkey.”

The Turkish presidency announced that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his US counterpart Donald Trump agreed in a phone call on Tuesday to work more closely in Libya to ensure lasting stability in the country.

Erdogan and Trump also discussed bilateral ties and a trade target of $100 billion.

The White House confirmed the phone call and said that both leaders discussed positive trade issues between the US and Turkey and underscored the need for a negotiated settlement of regional issues.

Earlier, Cavusglo said that the US needs to play a more active role in Libya, both in achieving a ceasefire and in political talks

“For some reason, the US has not been that active in Libya, perhaps because of past traumas,” Cavusoglu said in an interview with broadcaster NTV.

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