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  • Major General Ahmed al-Mesmari, Libya, Feb. 16, 2019.

    Major General Ahmed al-Mesmari, Libya, Feb. 16, 2019. | Photo: Twitter/ @lnaspox_ar

Published 29 February 2020
Opinion

Turkey's President has been sending mercenaries to Libya despite a ceasefire coming into effect since January 12.

Major General Ahmed al-Mesmari, the spokesman of the Libyan National Army (LNA) commanded by General Khalifa Haftar, denounced that Turkey’s President Recep Tayeb Erdogan is sending Syrian mercenaries to Libya and turning this African country into a terrorist shuttle that threatens the entire region.

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"The Turkish president wants to turn Libya into a launchpad for terrorist and criminal attacks on neighboring countries, mainly Egypt. And he does so by continuously sending mercenaries. We will not tolerate the presence of foreign soldiers in our territory," al-Mesmari said on Friday.

He also stressed that the LNA will maintain its offensive against the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), which is led by PM Fayez al-Serra in Tripoli.

Al-Mesmari made these statements a few hours after his army planes bombed the only airport in operation in Tripoli (Mitiga), which forced the airlines to suspend their flights to Turkey and Tunisia.​​​​​​​

On Feb. 22, Erdogan admitted that his country had sent Syrian mercenaries "after they were promised the Turkish citizenship and salaries of up to US$2,000 per month, to fight alongside militias loyal to the GNA," as reported by local outlet AdressLibya.

"Mercenaries in Libya is Erdogan’s card to blackmail Europe," explained the Arab Post and added that "the Turkish president has turned to rely on mercenaries to plunge Libya into chaos and spread violence."​​​​​​​

Supposedly, however, a "ceasefire" has been in effect in Libya since January 12. Turkey and Russia negotiated this provisional measure to halt war actions that began on April 4, 2019, when General Haftar surrounded Tripoli.

So far, this new phase of the Libyan civil war has left over 1,500 dead, some 15,000 injured and more than 130,000 people displaced from their homes.​​​​​​​

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Libya Turkey
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