On May 21, Turkish-backed forces fighting for the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya captured another town from the Libyan National Army (LNA).
Turkish-backed forces launched a large-scale attack on the town, Asbi’ah, in the early morning. Within a few hours, the villages of Jendubah and Awlad Idress, west of the town, were captured by GNA forces.
In the afternoon, the GNA’s “Anger Volcano” operations room announced that Asbi’ah had been captured by its forces. LNA units abandoned their positions in the town, which is located 105 km south of the country’s capital, Tripoli.
The GNA attack on Asbi’ah was backed by Turkish forces, which provided air support with combat drones. It remains unclear, however, if Syrian mercenaries participated in the attack.
In a news conference, LNA spokesman, Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Mesmari, criticized the UN for ignoring the growing Turkish support for the GNA. The spokesman accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of plotting to occupy Libya.
According to Maj. Gen. al-Mesmari, at least 1,500 Turkish service members are in Libya now. 2,500 commando soldiers will allegedly arrive in the country soon.
Turkey’s support allowed the GNA to regain momentum in the battle against the LNA. In the last few weeks, GNA forces captured several areas, including the al-Watyah Air Base. Turkish combat drones, which destroyed several air-defense systems of the LNA during that operation.
The conflict in Libya will likely escalate further. While Turkish-backed GNA forces are preparing to launch an attack to capture the town of Tarhunah, the LNA is threatening Turkish forces in Libya with a “large aerial campaign.”