Fighters loyal to warlord Libya's Haftar kill 16 Turkish soldiers

Fighters loyal to warlord Libya's Haftar kill 16 Turkish soldiers
A day after Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan said Ankara had lost 'several troops' deployed to assist the UN-recognised Tripoli administration, fighters loyal to Haftar claimed to have killed 16.
2 min read
23 February, 2020
Haftar's offensive on Tripoli has left more than 1,000 people dead [Getty]
Fighters belonging to Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) claimed on Sunday to have killed 16 Turkish fighters over recent weeks, a day after Ankara acknowledged it lost several "martyrs" in combat in the north African country.

According to Reuters, citing Khalid al-Mahjoub, a spokesman for Haftar's militia, the Turkish troops were killed in battles across the country, including the port city of Misrata, Tripoli and the town of al-Falah south of the capital.

On Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara had lost several of its troops in Libya, claiming that hundreds of fighters loyal to Haftar were killed in response. 

Turkey backs Libya's UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj, and has deployed Syrian soldiers along with its own to the country, into order to assist the Tripoli-based administration counter the LNA advance on the capital.

Earlier on Wednesday, Erdogan said that Turkey would continue aiding Sarraj's government to "establish dominance" over all of Libya.

Haftar's forces, who have their base in the east of the country, are backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, and also receive help from Russian mercenaries.

The Turkish deployment and sophisticated air defences have moved the frontline to where it was at the starts of Haftar's campaign, erasing small gains the LNA had made alongside Russian mercenaries.

The two rival administrations in the country are now in the process of fragile truce talks, with the UN saying that the negotiations were on track "in the right direction" on Friday, according to Reuters

Talks towards a political solution in Libya are scheduled to begin in Geneva on 26 February.

The fighting that has taken place since Haftar's offensive on Tripoli has left more than 1,000 people dead and displaced some 140,000 according to the United Nations.

Earlier this month, the LNA claimed that it had destroyed a Turkish cargo ship anchored at Tripoli, which it claimed had brought arms and ammunition.

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