Turkey recognizes a "change in the balance" of the conflict in Libya because of its military support to the National Accord Government militias

The regime led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sent a new contingent of mercenaries to Misrata
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

PHOTO/ Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP  -   Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks to the media in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak in Ankara, Turkey

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has acknowledged that as a result of his country's intervention in Libya "the balance in the North African nation has shifted significantly" in favour of the internationally recognised National Accord Government (NAG) led by Fayez Sarraj. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Eurasian country has continued in the same line assuring that Ankara has been responsible for "changing the balance" in Libya and thus avoiding "a civil war". "The only solution in Libya is a political solution and Haftar has to understand that," he said in a television interview.

Un avión de combate de la Fuerza Aérea Turca
AP/USAME ARI/CIHAN NEWS AGENCY - Turkish Air Force fighter jet flies over Incirlik Air Base in Adana, southern Turkey

In this context, the regime led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sent a new contingent of mercenaries to Misrata to fight alongside the forces of the Government of National Accord in Libya, according to the media Asharq Al-Awsat after consulting the data produced by Itamilradar. This web portal, which is specialized in monitoring the movements of military aircraft over Italy and the Mediterranean Sea, has tracked two Turkish Air Force flights that were allegedly headed for Misrata. 

At the same time, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated this Sunday that at least 500 mercenaries from Syria have arrived in Libya in the last few hours. Consequently, the number of recruits who arrived in Libya has increased to 10,100 combatants, including a group of non-Syrian mercenaries. Nearly 200 young people between the ages of 16 and 18, most of whom belong to the Al-Sultan Murad Division, have seen Libya as the only way out of their difficult living situation. The Observatory has also documented the deaths of seven Syrian mercenaries in the battles being fought on various fronts in Libya. 

Combatientes del Gobierno del Acuerdo Nacional
PHOTO/AMRU SALAHUDDIEN - Combatants of the Fayez al-Sarraj National Accord Government, fire their weapons against the forces of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA)

In the past month, the National Accord Government has achieved several military victories in the west of the country, thanks to Turkish air and logistical support, support that has not been welcomed by much of the international community. Over the past few weeks, some countries such as the United Arab Emirates have rejected Turkey's "military intervention" in Libya in support of the internationally recognized GNA. Many of the countries in the region believe that this interference impedes the possibilities of a ceasefire and blocks the efforts of the international community to reach a comprehensive political solution in a country devastated by the war. 

El presidente Donald Trump le da la mano al presidente turco Recep Tayyip Erdogan
PHOTO/AP - Archival photography. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington

US President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, held a telephone conversation on Saturday in which they discussed the regional situation in both Syria and Libya. "President Trump reiterated his concern about the worsening foreign interference in the North African nation and the need for rapid de-escalation". President Trump and President Erdogan reaffirmed "the urgent need for a political solution to the conflict in Syria, as well as unimpeded humanitarian access throughout the country," spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.

For his part, rebel commander Khalifa Haftar on Saturday called on his forces to mobilise against Turkey. Recent advances by forces aligned with the internationally recognised National Accord Government, including the seizure of a key air base, have jeopardised the offensive launched in April 2019 by the Libyan National Army to take control of the capital. Haftar called for a fight against Turkey's "colonial" intervention until it defeats the country, in a reference to the former Ottoman control of Libya, according to the Reuters news agency. " You are creating glory while fighting the odious coloniser greedy for our wealth. And you are waging war on all fronts, a war in which there is nothing but victory," he said.

El mariscal libio Khalifa Haftar
AFP/LNA WAR INFORMATION DIVISION - Libyan Marshal Khalifa Haftar

This exchange of statements came after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Çavusoglu, spoke on the phone to discuss the situation in Libya and called on the warring parties to cease all military operations. The call came several hours after Field Marshal and Libyan National Army leader Khalifa Haftar warned of a new "air attack campaign in the coming hours. The two diplomats also called on rival factions to return to the UN political process. 

Since 2014, Libya has been a nation divided between the areas controlled by the internationally recognised National Accord Government on the one hand, and the territory controlled by the authorities in the east, loyal to Haftar's militias, on the other. Attacks between the two warring parties have not stopped since April 2019, when Khalifa Haftar - in the name of the authorities in the east - launched an offensive to take over Tripoli, the headquarters of the GNA and which is now supported by the United Nations.