Libyan National Army Spokesman Major General Ahmed Al-Mismari said on Thursday that no political negotiations will advance unless Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan withdraw his forces from Libya.
“The Prime Minister of the Government of the National Accord in Tripoli, Tripoli, Fayez Al-Sarraj, had made the Libyan crisis hostage to international conflicts,” Mismari added in an interview with Sky News Arabia.
He pointed out that the Libyan National Army (LNA), which is fighting a war against militias and terrorists, is putting the ball in the court of the international community to implement its obligations.
Earlier Thursday, the LNA announced that it was relocating its units outside the capital, but with the condition that the other side, Sarraj forces, abides by a ceasefire, in order to stop the bloodshed of the Libyan people.
The Libyan Armed Forces indicated that, in the event that the other party does not comply, the General Command will resume operations and suspend its participation in the ceasefire committee known as “5+5”.
It’s noteworthy that Sarraj paid a visit to Turkey where he met with President Erdogan on Thursday.
Libyan Army Repositioning Outside Tripoli
The General Command added, in a statement, that the battle is not over and will continue until victory for the sake of “immortal national principles.”
The statement stated that this decision was based on the approval of the General Command of the Libyan Armed Forces to resume its participation in the “5 + 5” ceasefire committee supervised by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya.
The GNA forces announced the full restoration of control of Tripoli and its environs, after battles that continued for more than a year.
Since the launching of the “Peace Storm” operation by the GNA backed by Turkish unmanned drones and planes at the end of March, the GNA forces have succeeded in regaining control of the strategic Al-Watiya air base (140 km southwest of Tripoli).
The Libyan National Army indicated that the Al-Watiya military base “is not of military importance at the present time”, but at the same time it noted that it constitutes “a very important morale achievement for the GNA militias.”
Libya, once one of the most prosperous nations in Africa, remains fractured and devastated since the 2011 NATO bombing campaign that helped militant forces oust and kill long-time leader Muammar Gaddhafi.
After the war, the country became a playground for various competing militias, as well as a major human trafficking thoroughfare.
In a related context, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) monitored the arrival of a new batch of “mercenaries backed by Turkey” to Libyan territory to participate in military operations alongside the militias affiliated to the so-called the Government of National Accord (GNA) against the Libyan National Army.
The new batch includes hundreds of fighters from the pro-Turkey Syrian factions, thus reaching the number of recruits those who have reached Libyan territory so far, about 9,600 mercenaries, including a non-Syrian group. The number of recruits who arrived in the Turkish camps to receive training amounted to about 3,300.
Moreover, Turkey may begin oil exploration in the eastern Mediterranean within three or four months under a deal it signed with Libya, according to Energy Minister Fatih Donmez.
“The Fatih drill ship would hold its first operation in the Black Sea on July 15, the anniversary of a 2016 failed coup attempt. Friday also marked the anniversary of Istanbul’s conquest by the Ottoman Empire in 1453,” said Donmez.
Last year, Sarraj signed the maritime delimitation deal with Turkish President Erdogan.
World countries including Greece and Cyprus declared their condemnation of that “illegal and illegitimate deal.” The European Union also opposes the maritime deal that was signed alongside an agreement for Turkey to provide military support to the GNA.