May 26 2019

Militias clashed over Turkish arms shipment in Libya - Asharq Al-Awsat

An armed conflict occurred between pro-government militias in western Libya over the delivery of Turkey's arms shipment,  London based pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Sunday.

Libyan armed groups allied with UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) on May 18 received armoured vehicles and arms from Turkey as they fight against Libyan National Army (LNA).

"Clashes erupted in the western city of Zawiya late on Friday in wake of the death of Firas al-Mukhtar Sharkas, the commander of a militia that is affiliated with the GNA’s Interior Ministry. His cousin was also killed in a clash with another militia over a Turkish weapons shipment," Asharq Al-Awsat said.

The clashes, that eventuated in Sharkas' and his cousin's death, broke out on May 24 after Sharkas seized one of the new Turkish vehicles, according to pan-Arab daily.

Libya is split between the GNA in Tripoli, and the Tobruk government, led by General Khalifa Haftar, the de facto ruler of eastern Libya and head of the LNA. Haftar has launched an assault to control Tripoli in April. 

Turkey's shipment of armoured vehicles is a violation of the arms embargo imposed on Libya by the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) since February 2011. 

Hundreds of militias died in clashes between rival groups over financial and logistic gains in Tripoli and its suburbs last year, according to Asharq Al-Awsat.

https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1739971/casualties-w-libya-militias-clash-over-%E2%80%98turkish-spoils%E2%80%99