On March 2nd, Turkey’s nightmare scenario appears to be becoming reality, as a delegation allied to Libyan National Army’s (LNA) Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar visited Damascus, Syria.
In the meeting, Libyan Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Abdul-Hadi al-Hawaij met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem in Damascus.
al-Hawaij said “Syria is an important, effective and key state in the region despite of all circumstances facing it and terrorism will not undermine it as it is able to overcome all the crises thanks to the resilience of its people, the heroism of its army and the wisdom of its leadership.”
Al-Hawaij noted that one of the most important goals of the visit to Syria is to exchange information on thousands of terrorists and mercenaries who have been transferred by Erdogan from northern Syria to Libya backed by Qatar “the financial arm of all the operations in this regard.”
BREAKING | Major-Gen. Younes #Farhat of #Libya's interim Defence Ministry, said to @ObservatoryLY : "We agreed with Syrian Defence and Intelligence to exchange data on Syrian terrorists in #Tripoli and on Libyan ones wanted for fighting in #Syria for al-#Nusra Front and #ISIS." pic.twitter.com/TfJxYCBHeG
— صحيفة المرصد الليبية (@ObservatoryLY) March 1, 2020
The delegation was also received by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
President Assad received the delegation from Libya headed by Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Rahman Al-Aheresh, and Abdul Hadi Alhweij Minister for foreign affairs and international cooperation. pic.twitter.com/8Zf4frNQcM
— Hassan Ridha (@sayed_ridha) March 2, 2020
On the Syrian side, Muallem said diplomatic missions would be reopened in Damascus and the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, controlled by Haftar’s forces.
The two sides also pledged to coordinate to “confront Turkish interference and aggression against both countries”.
Meanwhile, on the ground in Libya, the LNA appears to be making gains against the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) forces.
Another UAV, presumably Turkish was shot down in southern Tripoli.
Libyan National Army #LNA Air defense platforms target a Turkish UAV that took off from the military base of Maitiga, and shot it down at the Al-Khala axis #Tripoli. after it attempted to target the positions of our military units in the area.#Libya pic.twitter.com/tWE4mZQHZt
— M.LNA (@LNA2019M) March 2, 2020
Shelling of the Mitiga airport with Grad rockets also continued.
— قناة فبراير (@FebruaryChannel) March 2, 2020
The LNA reported that it had knocked out the MIM-23 HAWK Systems that Turkey deployed at the Mitiga airport.
Unless the radar module was hit, however, it’s highly unlikely the battery is out of action.
— Libya MarSec Monitoring (@MaritimeSecuri1) March 1, 2020
There were heavy clashes in Ain Zara, eastern Tripoli.
مدفعية قواتكم المسلحة متمثلة في #الكتيبة128 وسرية #الهاون التابعة لقوة #عمليات #اجدابيا تستهدف تجمع للحشد الميليشياوي التركي فى محور عين زارة بعد محاولتهم التجمع للهجوم على نقاط للقوات المسلحة العربية الليبية ولله الحمد كانت الضربات دقيقه جدآ ولله الحمد pic.twitter.com/tIYGmRHhsY
— ابن ليبيا السرتاوي🇱🇾🇱🇾🇱🇾 (@MstrMax11) March 2, 2020
And the LNA is also advancing from the area of the Tripoli International Airport.
— وكالة أخبار بنغازي (@akbaar_Benghazi) March 2, 2020
The GNA attempted to destroy the vehicle used by the LNA to launch GRAD rockets, but to no avail.
عاجل | الإعلام الحربي لبركان الغضب: مدفعية الجيش تستهدف عربة جراد بمحور وادي الربيع وتجمعا لأفراد مليشيات حفتر بمحور عين زارة pic.twitter.com/j63htBGeKd
— ليبيا بانوراما (@lpc_ly) March 2, 2020
Heavy clashes are on-going in many positions in and around Tripoli, but so far it appears that the LNA is managing to gain the upper hand, as Turkey’s support of the GNA proves entirely ineffective.
Turkey’s role, currently, is sending drones that are being destroyed, militants who are taking part in presumed operations with unclear results. The information network’s efforts, however, are working in a way similar to that in Syria – there are reports of LNA fighters being killed, but little evidence to back them up.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Damascus & Libyan National Army Deepen Ties Amid Conflict With Turkey
- Haftar’s Forces Downed 6 Turkish UAVs And Killed 10 Soldiers At Mitiga Airport