Anadolu: GNA Forces Preparing to Launch New Phase in Tripoli – Al Marsad

The official Turkish Anadolu News Agency reported new developments in the ongoing battle in Tripoli, confirming the arrival of reinforcements to the forces and armed militias aligned with the Government of National Accord (GNA) to the front lines. The agency attributed the news to a statement issued by the armed groups without disclosing their name.

[Libya, 21 August 2019] – Anadolu News Agency in an urgent news dispatch on published on Tuesday evening said that the forces of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) announced the arrival of military reinforcements to the fighting axes in the vicinity of Tripoli, as part of the ongoing preparations for, what the agency described, as “a new phase” named as the “Burkan Al-Ghadab” Operation, which will be launched soon against the Libyan National Army (LNA).

This announcement comes in the wake of Ankara’s entanglement in the Syrian conflict quagmire, especially in the city of Idlib. Idlib is a key centre for terrorists in Syria, where Erdogan’s government is allied with the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization and supplies it with ammunition. This was part of Turkey’s last-ditch attempt to rescue it from imminent defeat after the Syrian Arab Army recaptured most of the territory around the city.

The timing is interesting too given a video that has just been released in social media by one the commanders and religious leaders of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Abdullah al-Muhaysini, where he urges his jihadi members go to the aid of the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli in order to heed to the call of the GNA-affiliated Islamist cleric, Sadiq al-Gharyani, to fight the Libyan National Army (LNA). Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is affiliated to al-Qaeda. Although Turkey has designated Hayat Tahrir al-Sham as a terrorist organisations, there have been many contacts between the two since its formation in 2017, and it continues to have close ties with the Turkish-supported Jabhat al-Nusra.

New Hangars for Turkish Drones at Misrata Air Base

On Sunday Al Marsad obtained photos of new installations east of the military section of the Misrata airbase. Construction works on these installations started late July and continued over in August. The Air Force of the Libyan National Army (LNA) targeted these installations on Saturday during the 11 air raids they carried out at night.

New hangars for Turkish drones at Misrata Air College

Military sources told Al Marsad that these installations are components of a Turkish integrated military facility consisting of a group of hangars for drones, ammunition depots, other types of aircraft, and a new separate 600 meters runway west of the base for operations, in addition to other logistics supplies.

New hangars for Turkish drones at Misrata Air College

The sources confirm that the installations at the facility were prepared to be a possible permanent base for the Turks inside the airbase, similar to their bases in northern Syria, before they were targeted by a series of airstrikes late Saturday night.

New hangars for Turkish drones at Misrata Air College

“The aim of targeting these facilities is to completely neutralize them in order to ensure the preservation of the goal for which the Misrata Air College was established, and maintain the civilian nature of the airport located inside it since it is the only airport for the residents of the city,” the sources added.

New hangars for Turkish drones at Misrata Air College

Al Marsad was unable to obtain any comment from Misrata Air College officials on the nature of the targets that were bombed on Saturday night with 11 air strikes. TV channels and social media accounts affiliated with the Government of National Accord (GNA) claimed that the anti-aircraft defense shot down the attacking plane. Most of the photos posted by pro-GNA and pro-Misratan accounts of a downed drone were however old photos from Yemen and other locations. Yet footage obtained by Al Marsad showed that the air defense failed to achieve anything apart from launching one surface-to-air missile following the eighth raid that did not hit its target, turning the launching pad into a vulnerable target for destruction.

The main Operations Room of the General Command of the Libyan National Army (LNA) issued a communiqué and a circular early on Sunday. The statement announced that LNA Air Force carried out a successful and accurate targeting operation in Misrata. The statement confirmed that this communication circular was intended for the citizens of the city. The leaflet received by Al Marsad from the Operation Room said that the raids targeted warehouses and hangars used for the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 killer drones at the Misrata Air College. The circular confirmed that the installations were targeted because of the  threat and danger they pose to the Libyan National Army forces and the civilian population of the country.

The LNA circular said: “The General Command of the Libyan National Army declares its unwillingness to target the city of Misrata and its facilities, but the city’s contribution to the war effort against the liberation of Tripoli from the control of armed militias makes us obliged to consider it a legitimate target for the Libyan Air Force. Misrata’s continued hosting of Turkish military support makes it a legitimate military target for our armed forces. However, its neutrality, non-interference and support for the GNA militias will change our perception and stop us from attacking and targeting it by the Libyan National Army Air Force, as well as not planning to attack it in the future after the liberation of Tripoli from the terrorist militias.”

© Al Marsad English. 2019.