Jul 27 2019

Senior Tripoli government officials confirm receipt of Turkish armed drones - Bloomberg

Libya’s Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) has improved its air capabilities with the receipt of armed Turkish Bayraktar drones in recent weeks, Bloomberg reported on Friday citing three unnamed senior GNA officials. 

In the proxy conflict in Libya, Turkey backs the internationally recognised GNA which has been attacked since April by Khalifa Haftar’s eastern based Libyan National Army (LNA), supported by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The LNA accuses Turkey of funding and arming Islamist factions in Libya fighting on the side of the GNA despite a United Nations arms embargo imposed in 2011.

The eastern-based group said several times that it attacked Turkish unmanned combat aerial vehicles at Tripoli airport. 

Meanwhile, the Tripoli-based government said for the first time that it had conducted airstrikes against Haftar’s forces, Bloomberg reported on Friday. 

The GNA was not known to have aircraft capable of conducting precision nighttime strikes, Bloomberg said. But three senior GNA officials, who asked not to be named because the weapons supplies are not public, told Bloomberg that the Tripoli government had improved its capabilities with the receipt of armed Turkish Bayraktar drones in recent weeks.

Bayraktar, the drone company, is owned by the family of a son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Officials at the company declined to comment when reached by, Bloomberg said. 

Ankara has delivered Bayraktar TB2 drones along with a fleet of BMC Kirpi mine-resistant vehicles, Middle East based journalist Paul Iddon wrote in Ahval on Saturday. 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-26/tripoli-government-says-it-struck-haftar-s-main-forward-airbase