Libya’s LNA says Turkey mobilized large number of mercenaries in Misrata

Fighters from a Misrata armed group loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) prepare ammunition in Libya, April 8, 2019. (File photo: AFP)

Turkey mobilized a large number of mercenaries in Libya’s port city of Misrata, Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesman Khaled al-Mahjoub told Al Arabiya on Sunday.

The LNA detected that Turkey sent approximately 19,000 mercenaries to fight alongside the GNA, al-Mahjoub added.

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Al-Mahjoub also stressed the LNA’s readiness for all possibilities in Sirte, after the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) moved fighters and military vehicles closer to Sirte on Saturday.

Sirte is a key coastal city in Libya, close to major energy export terminals on the Mediterranean seaboard.

The LNA, commanded by Khalifa Haftar, and the GNA have been fighting for control of Libya, including Sirte. Clashes between both sides over Sirte have intensified since early June.

Al-Mahjoub had said previously that the possibility of an armed clash was unlikely despite the GNA’s movements.

He added in a statement to Al Arabiya that Turkey wouldn’t risk attacking and marching towards Sirte and Jufra after Egypt entered the equation.

Egypt, which backs the LNA, has threatened in June to intervene militarily in Libya if the GNA and Turkish forces tried to seize Sirte.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had said on June 20 that his country has a legitimate right to intervene in Libya and ordered the army to be prepared to carry out missions if necessary.

“If some people think that they can cross the Sirte-Jufra frontline, this is a red line for us,” he said.

Read more:

Libyan National Army: Will never give up Sirte to Turkey ‘no matter the sacrifice’

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Libya’s GNA should realize its size, who it’s talking to: Egypt official in report

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Last Update: Monday, 20 July 2020 KSA 23:15 - GMT 20:15
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