Over the May 30th – 31st weekend, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) continued its airstrike campaign against the Government of National Accord (GNA) and its Turkish support.
Airstrikes were carried out in the area near Misrata, which is a Turkish headquarters.
— وكالة أخبار بنغازي (@akbaar_Benghazi) May 31, 2020
Airstrikes were also being carried out on GNA positions in and around Tripoli, but regardless, the Tripoli International Airport was entirely put under GNA’s control, according to pro-GNA tweets, which have since been deleted.
It is more than likely that the GNA didn’t capture it, and the clashes for the valuable position are still on-going.
The photograph below shows pro-GNA fighters during one of the attacks on the airport. The LNA still mostly controls it, but the GNA continues its push.
UMH Güçleri Trablus Havalimaninda. pic.twitter.com/R3OPueTzNC
— Mete Gök (@mete_gokk) May 31, 2020
A T-72 battle tank was also captured by the GNA, and there’s a photograph showing attempts to tow it.
— Oded Berkowitz (@Oded121351) May 31, 2020
The GNA issued a final warning to all those who fight on the side of the LNA in Tripoli, Qasr bin Ghashir, Tarhuna and Arban to lay down their weapons, because a response was coming.
Libyan army spokesperson, Qanunu: We send a final warning to everyone who fought with terrorists and mercenaries in the besieged areas south of #Tripoli, #Qasr_bin_Ghashir, #Tarhuna and #Arban, and sided with Haftar: lay down your weapons and surrender.#Libya pic.twitter.com/vn1qebUT3N
— Arraed LG+ (@ArraedLG) May 31, 2020
The LNA, in addition to airstrikes continued shelling Tripoli, and there was damage that war cemetery in the city.
This video shows the aftermath of the indiscriminate shelling (using grad missiles) on the Italian War Cemetery in Tripoli. https://t.co/QDuQEpuA2v
— امين الهاشمي (@AminAlhashmi1) May 31, 2020
— MOHAMMED MAHJOOB (@M_MAHJOOB32) June 1, 2020
Meanwhile, a list was discovered purportedly showing a list of the names of Russian mercenaries, found in the Yarmouk camp in Southern Tripoli. However, all the names in the list are Arab ones.
List of Russian mercenaries found at Yarmouk Camp in southern Tripoli. pic.twitter.com/CsGiQoqb3R
— Levent Kemal (@leventkemaI) May 31, 2020
In addition, there are reports that Moscow is taking a page out of Ankara’s playbook and is recruiting “rioters” in Deir Ez-Zor, Syria, to send them in Libya to fight on the side of Haftar’s forces.
Russia has begun recruiting young men in regime-held Deir Ezzor to go fight in Libya for Haftar's side. Some of the recruits are from the al-Quds Brigade, a militia close to Russia originally made up of Palestinian Syrianshttps://t.co/SUu86nffCJ
— Elizabeth Tsurkov (@Elizrael) May 31, 2020
Finally, the Maltese Customs Authorities seized a large shipment of banknotes traveling to Libya. They were produced by Russian company Goznak, and the US Department of State issued a statement claiming that the equivalent of $1.1 billion in Libyan currency were counterfeit.
“The United States commends the Government of the Republic of Malta’s announcement May 26 of its seizure of $1.1 billion of counterfeit Libyan currency printed by Joint Stock Company Goznak—a Russian state-owned company—and ordered by an illegitimate parallel entity. The Central Bank of Libya headquartered in Tripoli is Libya’s only legitimate central bank. The influx of counterfeit, Russian-printed Libyan currency in recent years has exacerbated Libya’s economic challenges. The United States remains committed to working with the United Nations and international partners to deter illicit activities that undermine Libya’s sovereignty and stability, and are inconsistent with internationally-recognized sanctions regimes. This incident once again highlights the need for Russia to cease its malign and destabilizing actions in Libya.”
The Central Bank of Libya issued a statement saying that they were, in fact, not counterfeit and they had been legitimately ordered to be produced by it.
Statement by the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Libya (#CBL) in response to the statement of the #US State Department spokesman regarding the shipment of #banknotes seized by #Maltese Customs Authorities. pic.twitter.com/JOGtgppjkn
— Feras Bosalum (@ferasbosalum) May 31, 2020
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- GNA Supporters Claim Lists With Russian PMCs Names Were Found In Southern Tripoli
- Turkey Deploys Battle Tanks In Libya To Support GNA Forces
- LNA Claims It Shot Down Three Turkish Combat Drones Near Bani Waled