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Libya: Haftar forbids flights, boats from Turkey | Libya News



Libya's rogue military commander Khalifa Haftar has banned commercial flights from Libya to Turkey and ordered his forces to attack Turkish ships and interests in the country, said spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari.

Turkey supports the United Nations-approved government of Libya's National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, which on Wednesday declared Gharyan a strategic city south of the capital, by Haftar's self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) recaptured.

"The Air Force was ordered to attack Turkish ships and boats in Libyan territorial waters," al-Mismari said on Friday, adding that "Turkish strategic locations, companies and projects of the Turkish state (in Libya) these are regarded by the armed forces as legitimate goals ".

Al-Mismari said Turkish planes had "air-raided" and bombed LNA positions in the fight for Gharyan.

"All flights to and from Turkey are also stopped Turks (nationals) on Libyan territory are being arrested," he said.

The struggle for Tripoli, declared

Turkey has delivered drones and trucks to armed forces allied with the Tripoli-based Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, while the LNA diplomats said the LNA has support from France, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt received.

The LNA, which is allied with a parallel government in the east, has not taken over Tripoli, but has an air superiority. It has repeatedly attacked Tripoli functioning airport.

Haftar Setback

The capture of Gharyan this week was considered a serious setback for Haftar's forces and their campaign to capture the capital.

said Al-Mismari had lost 43 soldiers in the battle for Gharyan.

Ahmed Milad, a pro-GNA fighter, said to Al Jazeera: "We coordinated with our fellow militants in the city [Gharyan] along with the military command of the Western Region to commit the invasion. It took weeks, but the city fell into our hands in about seven hours. "

After the battle, GNA troops discovered a cache of US missiles on a captured LNA base in the city.

Al Jazeera correspondent Mahmoud Abdelwahed said from Gharyan, "Government troops showed dozens of US anti-tank missiles, saying [the weapons] they were seized by Haftar's armed forces in Gharyan … [and] were delivered by the United Arab Emirates." [19659009] Markings on the ship's containers of the rockets indicated that they were originally sold to the United Arab Emirates, a US ally. [19659008] If the United Arab Emirates were to provide the weapons, it would probably be a violation of the US Arms Trade Agreements and a United Nations embargo.

"The rule is that the United States will sell to the United Arab Emirates [weapons] or any other country will not allow the UAE to send it to anyone else – be it another country or perhaps a state under UN sanctions or, in this case, apparently a warlord, also under UN sanctions. " Al Jazeera's Rob Reynolds reported from Washington, DC.

A US State Department spokesman said in a statement sent to Al Jazeera, "We take all allegations of abuse of US defense-related items very seriously."

The statement added, "We are aware of these reports and are seeking additional information because we believe that all recipients of US defense-related products will comply with the end-use obligations."

Fear of retaliation

As life in Gharyan slowly returns to normal, locals fear that Haftar might retaliate.

Libya's United Nations-approved government re-conquers key city

"Some of Haftar's forces have moved to the nearby city of Asabia, others to the city of Tarhouna," said Abdelwahed of Al Jazeera.

"However, the situation in Gharyan remains fraught with concerns that Haftar's fighter aircraft could target government forces in the city."

The city of Tarhouna southeast of Tripoli remains the second most important position in the month-long campaign to conquer the capital ,

Haftar and his supporters say they are trying to liberate Tripoli from militias responsible for destabilizing Libya since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-sponsored 2011 uprising.

Haftar's critics accuse him of trying to seize power by force and deepening it A conflict between factions in the east and west of the expanding North African country.

His offensive has turned the United Nations-led plans to stabilize Libya after years of conflict that split the oil-rich nation and lowered living standards

Western powers are increasingly concerned about the conflict as it oversees oil production could cause more migrants to travel by boat to Italy and other parts of Europe.

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