TRIPOLI – Libyan parliament member Ali Saidi al-Qaidi said that terrorist elements are being transferred from Turkey to Libya. He added that these terrorists are coming to Libya in order to fight and confront the Libyan National Army in its military operations in Tripoli.
“The transfer of terrorists is not new, and many terrorists flock from Turkey through Tripoli and Misrata in order to fight the Libyan National Army in Tripoli, and obstruct its progress towards the centre of Tripoli,” al-Qaidi told news agencies.
The Libyan Civil War has taken on a very chaotic turn since 2014, when the conflict entered a new phase.
On one side is the Libyan National Army, under the leadership of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and supported by the House of Representatives, a legislative body based in the city of Tobruk, eastern Libya.
The collective side is colloquially known as the “Tobruk Government”, and is supported (at least in terms of moral support) by Russia, the UAE and Egypt. There are also reports that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Libya, a pro-Jamahiriya resistance organisation led by Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, the son of Brotherly Leader Muammar al-Gaddafi who was overthrown and murdered in 2011, is supporting the Tobruk-based forces.
The other main combatant is the so-called Government of National Accord (GNA), which is allegedly supported by Turkey, Qatar and Sudan. While the GNA is officially recognised as the government of Libya by the United Nations, it has extremely little actual power or even influence over most of Libya, and its authority is mostly limited to the capital city of Tripoli. The GNA is reportedly backed by the Libya Shield Force, an armed organisation that is reported to contain large numbers of extremist fighters.
“These groups [alleged terrorists from Turkey] are now on the axes of fighting and they fight the Libyan National Army under the protection of the civilian state,” a member of the House of Representatives (Tobruk government) told the press. He stressed that “on Saturday, a Tunisian terrorist was arrested on the axis of fighting in the Spring Valley area south of the capital Tripoli.”
The parliament member praised the role of Russia, stating that: “The Russian position on the crisis is clear and confirms the fight against terrorism in Libya,” he said.
In response to a question about the possibility of a ceasefire in Tripoli and the seating of the disputing Libyan parties at the dialogue table, he stressed that “the issue of sitting at this negotiating table is a political matter. It has nothing to do with the army (…) The army is fully aware of the lack of dialogue in the presence of armed terrorist groups.”
Tensions between Turkey and Libya have increased after the Libyan National Army forces, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, threatened to target Turkish ships and planes in Libya.
The forces led by Khalifa Haftar have been attacking Tripoli since April 2019, and by most accounts are making steady progress towards capturing the capital.