Turkey Threatens Ceasefire With Unprecedented Air Bridge and Six Turkish Warships West of Sirte – Al Marsad

Six Turkish warships entered the area between Misrata and Sirte on Saturday morning after several months of absence following the ceasefire, reviving fears of another wave of tension in the region.

(Libya, 6 December 2020) – A satellite image of Osint Company showed six Turkish frigates and warships in the area opposite Abugrein, west of Sirte, sailing in two separate formations.

Turkish warships west of Sirte (5 December 2020)

In conjunction with these developments, Major General Ahmed Salem, Commander of the West Sirte/Karama Operations Room of the Libyan National Army (LNA)’s General Command, ordered all units to raise the level of preparedness, suspend vacations, prevent the departure of military vehicles, and intensify monitoring in preparation for any “Turkish aggression”.

Circular issued by Maj. Gen. Ahmed Salem to Military Units (5 December 2020)

A military source told AlMarsad: “We are committed to a ceasefire in accordance with the 5+5 Agreement and we have begun implementing our part in the agreement, but this was met with unprecedented Turkish land, sea, and air mobilization. Turkey has rejected this agreement from the beginning and we are waiting for the position of the sponsors of the Geneva Agreement on this escalation.”

RELENTLESS TURKISH MOBILISATION

Over the past days, there have been intensive flights by the Turkish Air Force to western Libya through huge A400 military cargo planes, amounting to over 25 flights during the period between 28 November to 4 December.

Some of the Turkish military flights between Turkey and al-Watiya Air Base on 4 December.

These aircraft operated between the Konya, Kayseri, Merzifon, and Ataturk bases in Izmir and al-Watiya Air Base in western Libya, and to a lesser extent to the Misrata Air College where a Turkish and Italian force are stationed.

Satellite images showed an increase in the volume of supplies and the Turkish military presence during the aforementioned period at al-Watiya Air Base and the presence of new equipment, and weapons, including air defence systems of the Hisar, Kalkan, and Hawk type.

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NEW BATCH OF SYRIAN MERCENARIES

Last week, the UN envoy, Stephanie Williams, criticized the continued presence of mercenaries in Libya, and said that their number reached 20,000, referring to the presence of foreign forces in 10 Libyan bases without naming them. In a statement on Saturday, the Foreign Ministry of the Government of National Accord (GNA) defended the Turkish military presence in Libya, claiming that it is “legitimate and under a legitimate agreement.” 

Out of Tune: Erdogan Dismisses the Geneva Agreement Approved by the International Community

However, the majority of mercenaries are those sent by Turkey from Syria which total almost up to 15,000 according to the 26th UN Sanctions Report.

These new developments take place while all observers focus on Ghadames, as the House of Representatives (HoR) prepares for its unification, the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), and the rising optimism about resolving the crisis of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) and unifying its board of directors.

In addition, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has announced that a new batch of Syrian mercenaries had arrived in Libya thus rekindling fears of war and fighting and the collapse of the 5+5 military track agreement between the GNA-LNA commanders which was praised by the international community as key for peace in Libya. 

Turkey now threatens both the ceasefire and the critical trust-building measures developed by the 5+5 Agreement. UNSMIL has yet to comment on recent Turkey’s actions in Libya.

© AlMarsad English (2020)

 

FURTHER LINKS

Al-Mahjoub: LNA is Monitored Turkish Warships Near Libyan Territorial Waters

Defying 5+5 Agreement, Namroush Signs Security Agreement with Qatar, Turkey and Now With Italy

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