Turkey continues sending arms to Libya, violating arms embargo - local sources
Ankara continues to violate a United Nations arms embargo on Libya as the internationally recognised government in Tripoli on Sunday received another shipment of Turkish armed drones, local sources familiar with the matter told Ahval.
New shipment arrived at Mitiga, the only functioning airport in Tripoli, on Sunday morning via an Ukranian cargo plane, sources said.
Libya is split between the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli headed by Prime Minister Fayez Serraj, and the Tobruk government, led by General Khalifa Haftar, the de facto ruler of eastern Libya and head of the Libyan National Army (LNA). Haftar in April launched a military assault to seize the Libyan capital.
Last week, Eastern Libyan forces destroyed the main control room for drones at Mitiga airbase in the capital, Reuters said. Thus, the GNA needed a new urgent shipment of armed drones, local sources told Ahval.
Since the start of the assault in Tripoli, the LNA, which has air superiority, has several times said its jets brought down Turkish drones in Tripoli.
The new shipment came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday met Serraj in Istanbul and reiterated his support for the UN-backed government.
Erdoğan on Saturday discussed the ongoing conflict in Libya with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during a phone call, the state news agency Anadolu said without giving further details on the nature of the conversation.
Forces loyal to Haftar have repeatedly accused Turkey of supporting militias, chaos and "terrorist groups" in Libya and ferrying arms to the war-torn country. The LNA has threatened to target Turkish government assets and blocked flights from Turkey last week after GNA forces recaptured an important area near Tripoli.
Libya has been under an arms embargo since the 2011 uprising which led to the ousting and killing of former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi.
The embargo has been, however, regularly violated by different groups in Libya, according to the United Nations.