LNA Downs Another Turkish Bayraktar Drone Loaded at Mitiga Airbase – Al Marsad

Another Turkish Bayraktar TB2 UAV drone was shot down in Tripoli last night by the Libyan National Army (LNA). A total of over 23 Turkish drones to date have been destroyed by the LNA since its campaign against militias and terrorists in April 2019.

[Libya, 31 March 2020] – Al Marsad published during the early hours today the first video footage of the LNA shooting down a Turkish Bayraktar TB2 UAV drone which was loaded from Mitiga Airbase with the aim to launch raids on the axes south of the capital Tripoli, where fierce fighting has been taking place between the LNA and the militias of the Government of National Accord (GNA). According to reports the drone was shot down near the Asbiyeh axis

Photos circulated this morning of the wreckage of the Turkish drone following the successful strike by the LNA. According to one military source, the drone was equipped with a total of 4 missiles, of which one damaged and 3 remained intact.

The downing of an additional Turkish drone was also reported this afternoon by Libyan media with more details likely to come soon.

The Turkish Bayraktar Drones

Since the start of the campaign in April 2019 against the Government of the National Accord (GNA) militias and terrorists in Tripoli, over 23 Turkish drones have been downed by the LNA. The GNA has been deploying Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones to support operations of its militias against the LNA.

Over the last few weeks Turkey increased its supply of military equipment timed to coincide with the GNA’s Operation Peace Storm in southern Tripoli. The Operation was, however, a failure. The LNA forces countered the militia attack on Uqba bin Nafih (Al-Watiyah) Airbase and defeated the mercenary militias and chased them up to near the Tunisian borders. The commander of the LNA Al-Zawiyah Military Zone confirmed that the national forces controlled all the camps and concentrations of the terrorist militias in this area up to Ragdelin and Al-Assah.

The Bayraktar TB2 drones are maufactured by Bayraktar Holding owned by Selçuk Bayraktar, who is the son-in-law of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

According to the manufacturer the Bayraktar TB2 drone “has the advantage of night reconnaissance and the ability to conduct surveillance, exploration and immediate destruction missions of targets as it can be equipped with high-precision missiles, to destroy armored vehicles, military fortifications, and marine targets.”

The cost of each drone is estimated at around US$5 million. Yet, despite the cost the GNA continues to order more and more drones from Bayraktar Holding.

Bayraktar Killer Drones Run by Turkish Military Experts in Tripoli – EXCLUSIVE AL MARSAD REPORT

Bayraktar TB2 drones, however, continue to be shot down by the LNA air defence systems. Over 23 Bayraktar TB2 drones have either downed or destroyed at Libyan airports in less than a year, and which has been widely reported by Al Marsad and other local and international media.

Turkey had also lost a number of these aircrafts in Syria during confrontations with the Kurds and with the Syrian army. Ankara concluded contracts for sale of Bayraktar TB2 drones to Qatar, Tunisia and Ukraine, while other countries did not express their desire this year to acquire them.

Will EU’s Operation Irini Impact Turkish Military Shipments to the GNA?

The European Union (EU) announced the launch of a new naval and air mission in the Mediterranean from April named Operation Irini to stop more weapons reaching Libya. Irini will replace the EU’s current military mission, known as Operation Sophia, which stopped deploying ships a year ago after Italy, facing an anti-immigrant backlash, said it would no longer take migrants rescued at sea.

As Turkey uses mainly sea freight to deliver weapons to the Tripoli-based GNA, the EU’s Operation Irini will impact any future violation of the arms embargo by Turkey. 

An indication of the problems that Turkey is likely to face was made clear recently when Al Marsad reported from its sources that a ship carrying weapons and equipment on the same day it sailed from Istanbul. Al Marsad also indicated that an active naval force in the Mediterranean was awaiting, as part of the implementation of the arms embargo agreed by the international parties in Berlin, as well as the European decision to monitor ships moving to Libya from the eastern Mediterranean.

This ship was intercepted by the French frigate Provence, and it was the same ship “Ana” that survived the bombing of Tripoli Port, which was targeted by the LNA. Although denied by the GNA, the bombing actually killed three Turkish officers while it was transporting a shipment of military equipment to Libya from Istanbul Port.

Sources had told Al Marsad that the company that owns the ship changed its name from “ANA” to “PRAY” and was already on its way to western Libya raising the flag of the Republic of Sierra Leone before the French frigate Provence forced it to change its destination.

Given these new monitoring of sea traffic in the Mediterranean, Turkey is likely to intensify air flights to Tripoli and Misrata to supply military equipment, as it has been doing with the 5,000 Syrian mercenaries it transferred from Syria to support GNA militias—many of which with links to UN-designated terrorist groups such as ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Nusra Front.

© Al Marsad English (2020)



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