Unprecedented Russian-Turkish Escalation in Libya

Several warplanes have been sent by Turkey to the Government of National Accord, reliable source told MENA Research and Study Center.

This comes after the arrival of Russian warplanes sent form Hmeimim airbase in Syria to the National Army Forces.

Many websites specialized in monitoring the air traffic, reported on May 22 unusual movements of military transport aircraft and Turkish warplanes in the skies of the eastern Mediterranean near the Libyan coast.

MENA’s sources confirmed that military transport aircraft has arrived at Misurata Airport near Tripoli, while Turkish F16 and F14 have arrived at an airport belonging to the Accord Government in Tripoli.

Meanwhile, Russian forces on May 22 and 21 transferred warplanes from the Hmeimim airbase on the Syrian coast to Libya, the majority of which are MIG29 and SU24.

According to analysts, the successive airstrikes conducted by the Turkish drones in the past few days against Russian air defense systems might be the main reason behind dispatching the Russian warplanes to Libya. Turkish drones destroyed around ten Russian Pantsir air defense systems in the past few days.

Relatedly, MENA’s sources have revealed that Russia dispatched another batch of Syrian fighters to Libya in supporting Russian militias protecting Russian interests in Libya, while the military operations there continue.

Human rights organizations previously accused Russia in cooperation with the Syrian regime, of recruiting hundreds of young men from the countryside of Damascus, Aleppo and Homs, to support Russian militias deployed in Libya.

Russia has also recruited fighters from the so-called “reconciliation members” in Syria. They were transferred to Hama and Hmeimim airbases, in preparation for sending them to Libya.

On the other hand, Turkey has sent thousands of fighters from the Turkey-backed opposition factions to fight alongside the Accord Government.

Bloomberg News Agency has cited an unnamed Turkish official, that “Turkey is well prepared to defend its bases and other sites under its protection, by using drones and warships deployed near Tripoli.”

The official added that targeting any Turkish individuals could be met with revenge attacks, including attacks against the headquarters of the National Army, according to Bloomberg.

After capturing the airbase of al-Watiya by the Accord Government forces, Turkish media sources said that Turkish drones and warplanes might be placed soon in the al-Watiya airbase: “This is possible according to the agreements signed between Turkey and the Accord Government.”

Fathi Bashagha, the Interior Minister of Tripoli’s government told Bloomberg that at least eight Russian warplanes have arrived in eastern Libya left from a Russian airbase in Syria, “maybe to help in case of any new air offensive.”

UN experts have started an investigation on dispatching the future problems of giving warplanes by Russia to the commander of the Libyan Army, Khalifa Haftar, the Financial Times reported. Sending the warplanes from Syria might lead to a direct clash between Russia and Turkey in Libya.

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