LNA expects Turkish attack 'at any time', is ready to respond

Bassem Aly , Thursday 9 Jul 2020

Spokesman Ahmed Al-Mesmari says that Turkey is preparing for a “decisive battle” centred on Sirte and Al-Jafra

Ahmed Al-Mesmari
The spokesperson of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Ahmed Al-Mesmari

The Libyan National Army's (LNA) spokesperson said during an interview with Sky News Arabia on Wednesday that he expects a "Turkish attack at any time." 

Ahmed Al-Mesmari stated that the LNA "will do everything needed to deter any aggression."

"We have evidence that Turkey is moving towards a decisive battle, which is the Sirte-Al-Jafra battle. There are no indicators on the other side that [Turkey] will accept a ceasefire and go into negotiations," Al-Mesmari asserted.

The leading LNA figure noted that the Libyan army is only conducting "defensive operations to prevent manoeuvres and advancement by the enemy towards our (LNA) positions."

He emphasised that the LNA wants a peaceful settlement to the conflict.

Al-Mesmari explained that the LNA will declare a ceasefire in case other parties to the conflict show commitment to peace, stop sending terrorists to Libya and end the presence of “invaders," referring to Turkey.

Concerning Wednesday's UN Security Council meeting on Libya, Al-Mesmari said attending delegations and UN chief Antonio Guterres should have referred to the "obvious Turkish role" in the conflict and support for militias.

“[It is] as if they don't want to make an escalation against Turkey. Turkish objectives do not serve international peace and Libyan interests. Turkey is challenging the will of the international community and the Libyans," said Al-Mesmari.

The Government of National Accord (GNA), which is based in Tripoli, is backed by Turkish troops and thousands of Syrian mercenaries in its war against the eastern-based LNA and its leader General Khalifa Haftar.

During the past week, local and foreign media outlets reported that Turkey is preparing to attack Al-Jafra.

Sources told Al-Arabiya Monday that Turkish intelligence officials were wounded during Sunday's LNA's air strikes on Al-Watiya Airbase, which was recently captured by the GNA and its Turkish backers. The wounded were transferred to hospitals in Tripoli and Turkey.

Brigadier-General Khaled Al-Mahgoub, a leading LNA commander, told Al-Arabiya that repeat strikes on Al-Watiya — western Libya's most significant airbase — will take place soon.

Al-Mahgoub also said that Turkish radars, military equipment and air defence systems were destroyed during the air strikes.

Turkey, according to sources who spoke to Reuters in June, is negotiating the establishment of two bases — including one at Al-Watiya — with the GNA.

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