The Libyan National Army (LNA) has shared a video documenting an arms shipment from Turkey to forces loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).
Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Mesmari, a spokesman for the LNA, presented the video during a press conference on May 21. The video was recovered from a Turkish-made BMC Kirpi mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle captured from GNA forces.
The video documents the journey of a large batch of BMC Kirpi vehicles from Turkey to GNA forces, according to the following timeline:
- From February 14 to April 28 of 2019, the vehicles were still at BMC’s automotive factory in the western Turkish province of İzmir.
- On May 15, the vehicles set sail to Libya aboard Moldavian cargo ship “AMAZON.” The shipment arrived in Tripoli’s port on May 18.
- From January 11 to March 17 of 2020, the vehicles were stored in the port area, where Turkish officers trained GNA fighters on how to use them.
- On March 21, at least one of the vehicles [the one which the video was recovered from] was deployed in the Mitiga International Airport, where a GNA-Turkish operations room is located.
The vehicle was later dispatched to Turkish-backed Syrian militants. They used it in attacks on the town of Ayn Zara, where it was likely captured by the LNA.
During the press conference, Maj. Gen. al-Mesmari also shared information on the deployment of Turkish combat drones and Syrian militants in Libya. The spokesman claimed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been planning to occupy Libya since the last year.
“This is a solid proof we present to the international community and the UN on Erdogan’s support to extremism, terrorism and crime,” the spokesman said.
In the last few weeks, Turkey’s vast support allowed GNA forces to regain momentum in the battle against the LNA. A series of successful attacks pushed LNA troops out a notable part of Libya’s western region. Turkish drone strikes also inflicted heavy losses on the army.
The LNA is reportedly preparing to strike back. The army’s air-defense systems were reactivated on May 22. Several new fighter jets also entered service with the Libyan Air Force (LNA). These measures could help the LNA to stop the ongoing GNA advance.