The Libyan National Army (LNA) imposed a “no-fly zone” over an airport near the capital, Tripoli, a few hours after shooting down a Turkish armed drone in the same region.
The unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), a Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2, was shot down on January 22 afternoon by LNA units, right after it took off from the Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli’s eastern suburbs. The army claimed that the drone was on its way to attack its troops near the capital.
— Mohamed Mansour 🇪🇬 (@Mansourtalk) January 22, 2020
صورة | مقارنة أجرتها #المرصد لحطام طائرة مسيرة أسقطتها دفاعات القوات المسلحة جنوب شرق #طرابلس مساء اليوم تظهر تطابق الحطام مع جسد طائرة سليمة من طراز ” بيرقدار TB2 ” الملقبة بـ ” فخر الصناعة الجوية التركية ” . #ليبيا #المرصد 1/2 pic.twitter.com/98C6DhQ6Wv
— صحيفة المرصد الليبية (@ObservatoryLY) January 22, 2020
Earlier, at least six rockets landed in the Mitiga International Airport, forcing the authorities to halt all operations in the facility.
Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Mismari, a spokesman for the LNA, held a press conference after the two incidents announcing that the army had imposed a no-fly zone on the Mitiga International Airport.
“We announce the activation of a no-fly zone over entire Tripoli, especially over Mitiga airport, any military or civilian aircraft that take off or land at the airport, will be subjected to a response,” the spokesman said.
The Libyan commander noted that the no-fly zone will cover the area from the town of Garyan, south of Tripoli, to the town of Tarhunah ending on the capital’s shores.
LAAF spox “We won’t hesitate to destroy any plane that crosses the ‘No-Fly zone’. We won’t ask about it’s load, any civilian or military plane will be destroyed starting from this moment.”
Pict: The No-Fly zone over Tripoli as presented by LAAF spox at his press conference. pic.twitter.com/4kShvVOSly
— Khaled Butou (@mazighie) January 22, 2020
Maj. Gen. Al-Mismari went on to accuse Turkey of violating the ceasefire by deploying Syrian mercenaries, operating armed drones and installing air-defense systems to support the Government of National Accord (GNA).
These recent developments suggest that Libya may soon witness a new escalation. International efforts appear to be failing to push both sides towards a political agreement.