Libya’s GNA appeals to Turkey for help as Haftar sends reinforcement to Tripoli
Forces loyal to Fayez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya are asking ally Turkey to obtain military and civilian help to stop the assault following clashes in eastern Tripoli following an air strike by the Libyan National Army (LNA), the London-based pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat said.
The appeal by the GNA arrives as Libyan General Khalifa Haftar, commander of the LNA, launched a military campaign on Apr. 4 to seize the embattled capital Tripoli and is inching closer to achieving its battle objectives.
One GNA spokesman said his administration had appealed to Turkey for “anything that is needed to stop the assault” by the LNA, Asharq al-Awsat reported.
LNA jets struck positions to forces loyal to Sarraj’s GNA in the Ain Zara, Salaheddine and Wadi al-Rabih areas of southern Tripoli, followed by fierce clashes on Thursday night, it said.
Heavy fighting continued from Thursday afternoon until early morning Friday in the area of the former international airport with eight fighters allied to Tripoli killed and 42 wounded, according to Reuters.
Pro-GNA forces repelled the LNA earlier this week, as the latter moved up on one part of the front.
The GNA forces regained some ground however, the threat of the LNA will persist as long as it keeps its forward base in Gharyan, located about 80 km (50 miles) south of Tripoli, the newspaper quoted analysts as saying.
Haftar’s eastern-based LNA has taken control over large parts of the east and south of Libya, launching a surprise offensive against Tripoli, the seat of Sarraj’s GNA, in early April.
Ankara supports Sarraj’s forces, while Haftar has the backing of Turkey’s regional rivals, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt.