The LNA’s victory in the city of Sirte came shortly after Turkey sent its special forces to Libya.
On January 6, 2020, the Libyan National Army (LNA), proclaimed by General Khalifa Haftar, claimed that the force had taken control of the coastal city of Sirte from forces close to the Libyan National Solidarity Government. (GNA).
In a statement broadcast on television, LNA spokesman Ahmad al-Mesmari said the force had completely freed Sirte from “terrorist groups” after a military operation lasting only a few hours.
Earlier, LNA had progressed towards the center of Sirte after taking control of Ghardabiya airport on the outskirts of the city. The clashes are still ongoing in the south and coastal areas of the city of Sirte.
According to LNA, some warriors of the opposition fled, while many others were arrested. Most likely the LNA is planning to negotiate with militant leader Misrata.
|General Haftar’s forces took control of Libya’s Sirte.|
For its part, forces close to the GNA have confirmed their attack in Sirte. In a statement posted on Facebook, the GNA said it was dealing with LNA forces and mercenaries from the Republic of Chad.
Sirte is one of Libya’s most important cities, located on the Mediterranean coast (Sirte Bay), 450 km east of the Capital Tripoli. The city is also home to Moamer Gadhafi, the de facto leader of Libya from 1969-2011.
After the overthrow of Gadhafi in 2011, Sirte became the fortress, the operating area of the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist organization (IS). IS completely controlled the city since early 2015.
Then, with the support of the US military, the GNA pushed the IS terrorist group out of Sirte during a 7-month military campaign with hundreds of people killed.
The LNA victory in the city of Sirte came soon after sources supporting Turkey’s National Solidarity Government said many Turkish special forces had arrived in Libya.
In addition, the Turkish Army carries anti-aircraft missile systems, electromagnetic jamming systems and many other modern weapons and many technicians and battle crews.
Observers said that Turkey’s appearance on the Libyan battlefield is just a nature to keep Ankara’s promise to the GNA. In fact, even Turkey cannot save the situation in Tripoli.
In a related development, on January 6, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that Ankara would send military experts and technical groups to support the internationally recognized Government in Libya.
Cavusoglu said Turkey would send its experts, advisers and technical groups under a military cooperation agreement signed with the GNA in November 2019.
A bill passed by the Turkish Parliament last week also allowed the deployment of troops. “How and when this happens will be decided by the Government, under the leadership of the President,” Cavusoglu said.