French carrier spots Turkish frigate escorting arms shipment to Libya
The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle this week spotted a Turkish frigate escorting a cargo ship carrying armoured vehicles to Libya, pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat quoted French military sources as saying.
Observers have warned that the Libyan conflict risks spiralling into a full-blown proxy war as the Turkish-backed Tripoli government faces the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), which is backed by several countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and France.
The cargo ship Bana docked on Wednesday, the source said. On Tuesday, two Turkish frigates were spotted off Tripoli’s coast and press reports said they had accompanied shipments of military supplies including armoured vehicles.
Turkey’s aid, including supplies of drones and armoured vehicles, came at a crucial time last year after General Khalifa Haftar of the LNA launched an offensive against the capital city in April.
In November, Turkey signed deals with Tripoli’s U.N.-recognised Government of National Accord that allow the deployment of Turkish troops, signalling Ankara’s intention to ramp up its involvement.
Since then, intense fighting has continued despite a series of talks aimed at securing a ceasefire, and foreign weapons and mercenaries have poured into the country in violation of the U.N. arms embargo.
"They violate the spirit and the letter of the Berlin Conference," UN special representative for Libya Ghassan Salame said on Thursday, referring to the peace talks held this month.
"I urge the parties and their foreign sponsors to desist from reckless actions and instead renew their expressed commitment to work towards a ceasefire," he said.