Flames conquer the boarding hall at Misrata Airport in Libya

National Center for Disease Control warns of increase in coronavirus cases in Misrata
Military vehicles of Libyan government forces head for the front line from Misrata, Libya, on 3 February 2020

PHOTO/REUTERS  -   Military vehicles of Libyan government forces head for the front line from Misrata, Libya, on 3 February 2020

Libya has become synonymous with instability, following the war that began in 2014 and pits the Government of National Accord (GNA) and its armed militias against the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar. In this spiral of uncertainty, the boarding lounge at Misrata airport in western Libya has been the subject of a huge fire, as reported by several local media outlets such as channel 218TV. 

The origin of the fire is not yet known. "No official authority has spoken about the reasons for this fire. Some say it is due to the malfunctioning of the electricity network, while others speak of an intentional act," freelance journalist and researcher Ahmed Alberiaf said on Twitter.  The newspaper Al Ain reported that the flames could have been caused by an explosive detonated in the corridor of the airfield to prevent it from receiving mercenaries from Turkey. 

The number of infections caused by COVID-19 in the North African nation has increased to 4063, according to data provided by the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and collected by The Lybia Observer. This institution has registered 226 cases this Monday, of which 103 are in Misrata, 48 in Tripoli, 10 in Tobruk and 7 in Sirte, among other locations. NCDC has also confirmed the recovery of two patients, bringing the number to 625. The nation headed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan uses civilian and military airports and ports like Misrata to transport mercenaries and weapons to swell the ranks of the GNA. According to the Syrian Human Rights Observatory, there could be between 16,500 and 170,000 Turkish-backed fighters in Libya at the moment, including more than 350 minors. 

The Interior Minister of the Government of Eastern Libya, Ibrahim Boushnaf, said on Tuesday in statements to Asharq Al-Awsat that his ministries have agents who are providing them with information on the security situation, which they have described as "out of control" due to the presence of "the armed militias affiliated to the National Accord Government ( GNA)". During this interview, Boushnaf has expressed his concern about the possible demographic changes that the country may suffer, following the arrival of thousands of mercenaries from Syria or other countries such as Somalia to the GNA.  He also criticised the fact that these militias "have infiltrated security agencies [...] causing serious violations, such as the confiscation of public and private property, in places like Tarhuna or the capital, Tripoli". 

Turkey and Qatar support the Tripoli government, backed by the Muslim Brotherhood and internationally recognised by the United Nations, while the LNA is backed by Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Russia. The foreign intervention is partly due to the fact that the North African nation has the largest oil reserves in the whole African continent.  

Meanwhile, the German frigate 'Hamburg' has begun its journey to the Mediterranean to take part in the European Union (EU) naval mission 'Irini', established to monitor the UN arms embargo on Libya. The ship, which has about 250 soldiers on board, will end its mission on December 20, according to information provided by Sky News. This mission has the authority to carry out inspections on the high seas off the coast of Libya of vessels that there is reason to believe are carrying arms or related materiel to or from Libya. Turkey, on the other hand, maintains its position and continues to send mercenaries and weapons to the North African nation. The Turkish intervention has not only significantly influenced the situation in the country, but has also had a direct impact on security in the region.