Turkey threatens the Libyan army because it undermines its interests in Libya
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said, on Sunday, that it will consider Libyan National Army (LNA) forces led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar as legitimate targets if they continue to attack its interests and representative offices in Libya. Ankara’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has indicated that the Libyan army has stepped up attacks on Libyan civilians and infrastructure, particularly in the capital Tripoli, without discrimination. According to the statement, General Khalifa Haftar’s forces fired more than 100 missiles on May 9, in addition to intense artillery fire in Tripoli’s residential neighbourhoods.
The United Nations mission (UNSMIL) also condemned the indiscriminate shelling of the al-Zawiyat al-Dahmani area, documenting the killing of 15 people in similar attacks since the beginning of May. While the Libyan president Fayez al-Serraj accused the LNA of targeting civilians with at least 100 rockets, videos spread on social networks show Tripoli militias transporting weapons and military equipment into residential areas, using residents as human shields. International humanitarian law requires that parties take all necessary measures in case of conflict, following the principle of distinction between civilian areas and military targets. In reality, the GNA has never taken these actions and continues to expose civilians to the direct risk of war.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry added that the latest LNA attacks targeted diplomatic missions, including their embassy in Tripoli, Mitiga airport, departing civilian aircraft, and other infrastructure, resulting in killing and injuring civilians. Mitiga airport continues to be a logistical base for Islamist militias, and houses a prison inside that makes it a target of bombing from both sides, as the United Nations panel of experts previously reported.
Ankara believes that it’s unacceptable for the United Nations to remain passive in front of this brutality, adding that it is a common responsibility of the international community to stop the criminal Haftar. The statement accuses him of killing his people, including children, women and the elderly, during the holy month of Ramadan and the COVID-19 emergency. The Turkish ministry also blamed the countries providing military, financial, and political support to Marshal Haftar for the suffering, chaos, and instability in Libya.
The statement concluded stressing that Turkey will continue to support the Tripoli-based government as a brother friend, using every means at its disposal. Last Thursday, two propulsion grenades landed on Tariq Al-Shat park in Zawiya Dahmani, in the square where the radio headquarters, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Al-Mahary Hotel, the Turkish embassy and the residence of the Italian ambassador, overlooking the Corniche of the Libyan capital.Turkey has already recruited and sent thousands of mercenaries to fight in Libya, transferring them from Syrian cities.It also conducted dozens of fixed-wing attacks with remotely piloted drones that caused hundreds of casualties and injuries among civilians.
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