Tripoli govt shows off Turkey weapons shipment despite arms embargo - AW

Forces loyal to Libya's UN-backed government of national accord (GNA) headed by Prime Minister Fayiz Sarraj boasted of receiving a shipment of Turkish armoured vehicles and arms on Saturday in violation of a UN embargo of arms to Libya.

"The GNA is fostering its forces defending Tripoli with armoured vehicles, ammunition and quality weapons," the pro-GNA coalition said on one of its Facebook page, without giving further details about the origin of the military equipment.

But pictures and videos posted by the coalition on its Facebook pages showed what appeared to be dozens of Turkish-made BMC Kirpi armoured vehicles in Tripoli port.

Libya has been under an arms embargo since the 2011 uprising which led to the ousting and killing of dictator Muammar Gadhafi.

The embargo has been, however, regularly violated by different groups in Libya, according to the United Nations.

The Turkish arms shipment is considered however to be the first time a violation of the UN embargo is flaunted and documented by forces receiving the foreign military support.

Earlier this month, a Tripoli government spokesman said his administration was talking to its ally Turkey to obtain "anything that is needed to stop the assault," including military and civilian help.

The GNA and the Turkish Embassy could not immediately be reached for comment.

The pro-Sarraj forces are made up of an array of militias and armed militants who are trying to thwart the advance of the Libyan National Army (LNA) on Tripoli. They are accused of receiving support from Turkey and Qatar and of relying on guns for hire from other foreign nations.

Allied to a rival administration in eastern Libya, the LNA launched an offensive to control Tripoli in early April. Its rivals have accused it of receiving support from other countries in the region.


Republished with permission from Arab Weekly.