Last Update 20:40
Sunday, 18 August 2019

Haftar vows attacks on Turkish assets in Libya

AFP , Saturday 29 Jun 2019
Libyan Military base
File photo: Libyan Military base in the strategic town of Gharyan. (AFP)
Share/Bookmark
Views: 867
Share/Bookmark
Views: 867

The Libyan Commander Khalifa Haftar has threatened to attack Turkish interests in Libya after suffering a serious setback in his push to take the capital Tripoli, accusing Ankara of backing his rivals.

Anti-Libyan National Army (LNA) forces supporting Libya's internationally recognised government announced Wednesday they had retaken the strategic town of Gharyan in a surprise attack, seizing the main supply base for LNA's months-long offensive.

Haftar on Saturday promised a "tough response" and accused militias backing the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) of executing his wounded troops at the town's hospital -- allegations refuted by both the GNA and authorities in Gharyan.

The LNA had been ordered to target Turkish ships and companies, ban flights and arrest Turkish nationals in the country, the military spokesman said.

General Ahmed al-Mesmari accused Ankara of "directly" intervening in the battle "with its soldiers, planes and ships".

He accused Turkey of assisting GNA forces in seizing Gharyan, including providing air cover, and accused the town's residents of "treason".

Mesmari said orders had been given to the LNA "air force to target Turkish ships and boats in Libyan territorial waters".

"Turkish strategic sites, companies and projects belonging to the Turkish state (in Libya) are considered legitimate targets by the armed forces," he added.

"All Turkish nationals on Libyan territory will be arrested," he said, and "all flights to and from Turkey will be banned".

Regular flights to Turkey operate from Tripoli's Mitiga airport and a second airport in the western city of Misrata, where forces back the GNA.

Mesmari did not explain how the flight ban could apply to areas not under LNA's control.

The LNA, which holds eastern Libya and much of the country's south, seized Gharyan on April 2, and two days later launched its offensive on Tripoli.

But their initial lightning advance was quickly brought to a standstill in Tripoli's southern outskirts as militias backing the GNA rushed to defend the capital.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has confirmed his country's support for the GNA, saying Ankara was providing weapons to Tripoli under a "military cooperation agreement".

He told reporters on June 19 the Turkish backing had allowed Tripoli to "rebalance" the fight against Haftar.

On Saturday, Erdogan, speaking on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan, said he did not have "any information" concerning Haftar's threat against Turkish assets.

"If there is an order like this from Haftar, my colleagues will study (it). We have already taken the necessary measures regarding this anyway, and after this, we will take much more different measures," he said.

 

*This story was edited by Ahram Online. 

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.