On January 16th, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly said that Turkey had begun deploying troops to Libya, Aawsat reported.
This goes in line with videos and photos that have been circulating social media, allegedly showing Turkish troops set up air defense systems at Mitiga Airport near Tripoli.
— ابن ليبيا السرتاوي🇱🇾🇱🇾🇱🇾 (@MstrMax11) January 16, 2020
As per the above video and photographs, military analysts concluded that the Turkish military deployed the MIM-23 Hawk anti-aircraft missile system and the AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel 3D radar at the Mitiga Airport in Tripoli to protect the Libyan National Army from combat aircraft.
There were also videos showing the equipment being transported.
— Mohamed Mansour 🇪🇬 (@Mansourtalk) January 17, 2020
The ACV-30 Korkut SPAAG is an air defense system, and photographs of it can be seen below:
This equipment is reportedly being delivered to protect the troops and facilities of the UN-assigned Government of National Accord (GNA).
On the other side of the conflict, the Libyan National Army’s Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar is visiting Greece, and is expected to meet with the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, and then the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Libyan commander Haftar to meet Greek FM Dendias at 10.30 a.m. at the foreign ministry and then have talks with PM Mitsotakis at his office in Parliament at 1 p.m.
— Kathimerini English Edition (@ekathimerini) January 17, 2020
Greece has sought a more active role in Libya after the GNA in Tripoli signed a maritime and military cooperation memorandum with Turkey in November carving out energy spheres of influence in the Mediterranean.
Greek premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Athens will veto any agreement brought before the EU for approval unless the GNA-Turkey agreement is dropped.
Haftar agreed “in principle” to attend a peace conference in Berlin after G NA Head Fayez al-Sarraj said he would be present.
Haftar walked away from signing a ceasefire agreement in Moscow on January 13th, but German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas visited Benghazi on January 16th to persuade him to join the conference.
Foreign Minister @HeikoMaas after meetings in Benghazi:
General Haftar has signaled his readiness to contribute to the success of the Libya Conference in Berlin and is willing to participate. He has repeated his commitment to observe the existing ceasefire. pic.twitter.com/tP6KjeuBNO
— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) January 16, 2020
Haftar “wants to contribute to the success of the Libyan conference in Berlin and is in principle ready to participate in it,” Maas tweeted, calling it “the best chance in a long time” for peace.
He added that Haftar “has agreed to abide by the ongoing ceasefire”.
But Sarraj said that Haftar simply wished to undermine the Berlin conference, after all he refused to sign the ceasefire, while the GNA signed it.
Haftar “has chosen not to sign the agreement and asked for a delay”, he said, calling that “an attempt to undermine the Berlin conference before it starts”.
Finally, reports surfaced that the operational headquarters of Ajdabiya announces preparations for the closure of oil fields and ports in Ajdabiya due to the fact that “the pro-Turkish Libyan government spends oil money to attract Syrian mercenaries and pays Turkey, which is preparing the invasion of Libya.”
On January 16th, the Azviya tribe announced the closure of oil fields in the districts of Jiharra and al-Sarrir.
The closure of the oil port of al-Zuweitin was also reported.
Likely connected to the matter, an alleged airstrike hit the warehouses of Southern Oil Marketing company.
An alleged airstrike in southern Tripoli, #Libya hit the warehouses of Southern Oil Marketing company. the @NOC_Libya warns warring parties not to target #oil facilities as it could lead to 'a humanitarian and ecological disaster'. https://t.co/YzOEbflKO5
— Wim Zwijnenburg (@wammezz) January 16, 2020
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Underwhelming Turkish Invasion Of Libya
- 19 Members Of Turkish-backed Syrian Groups Already Killed In Libya: Report
- Erdogan: Turkey Deploying Troops In Libya To Support Tripoli-Based Government