Turkey sends troops to shore up Libyan UN-backed govt

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    Haftar’s troops take control of seaport

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said troops have begun moving into Libya after parliament approved the move last week.

    He said their mission was to ensure stability for the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.

    The Libyan government is fighting an insurgency by rebel forces under Gen Khalifa Haftar, based in eastern Libya.

    Gen. Haftar is backed by Egypt and the UAE, while the UN-backed government is supported by Turkey and its ally Qatar.

    Rebel forces have been trying to capture Tripoli and were blamed for an air strike on a military academy on Saturday that killed at least 30 people. They denied any involvement.

    The Turkish government has given no details about the scale of the military deployment.

    “Our soldiers’ duty there is co-ordination. They will develop the operation centre there. Our soldiers are gradually going right now,” President Erdogan told the CNN Turk TV channel.

    He said Turkey’s objective was “not to fight” but “to support the legitimate government and avoid a humanitarian tragedy”.

    The UN Security Council met on Monday to discuss the situation in Libya, AFP news agency reported, citing diplomats.

    It has been condemned by several countries, including the U.S.

    Last week, President Donald Trump told Erdogan in a phone call that “foreign interference is complicating the situation in Libya”.

    But, it was learnt yesterday that the Libyan National Army (LNA), headed by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, has entered the city of Sirte and taken control over the city’s seaport, a source in the LNA told Sputnik on Monday.

    “(The LNA) has also taken control of the as-Saadi military base, some city areas, and is now heading to the city centre,” the source, which is close to the LNA leadership, added.

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