Turkish forces are reportedly deploying new military equipment at al-Watiya Air Base in western Libya, despite recent airstrikes.
On July 9, Libyan activists shared a video showing a Turkish military convoy heading towards the air base. The convoy was moving military equipment, which was shipped to Mitiga International Airport earlier.
Forces loyal to the Government of National Accord captured al-Watiya Air Base with direct support from Turkey on May 18.
The activists provided no information about the nature of the new equipment being deployed in al-Watiya. Some sources speculated that Turkey is attempting to deploy a new air-defense system.
— Ouais Hasairi (@HasairiOuais) July 9, 2020
Last week, the Turkish military deployed a MIM-23 Hawk medium-range air-defense system at the air base. However, the system was quickly destroyed. A number of pinpoint airstrikes, which are thought to be carried out by allies of the Libyan National Army, targeted the system.
Turkish sources are now reporting that a new air-defense system will be installed in al-Watiya. The system may be one of the upgraded S-125 Pechora, which Turkey bought from Ukraine earlier this year.
Turkey is reportedly hoping to turn al-Watiya into a permanent base for its troops in Libya. The recent airstrikes were a major blow to this plan. However, Ankara is apparently still determined to achieve this goal.