Libya’s frozen six-year civil war
July 7, 2020 - After six years of civil war, Libya’s city of Sirte -- a strategic gateway to major oil facilities -- has become the latest frontline between a Turkish zone of influence in the west and a Russian region in the east.
Sirte is a crucial theatre of conflict because Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) militias control the area to the immediate east. In contrast, the Tripoli-based, internationally-backed, Government of National Accord (GNA) controls the region to the immediate west.
The LNA’s 14-month offensive to take control of the capital, Tripoli, backed by Russia, Egypt, France and the United Arab Emirates, collapsed in early June.
Since May, Turkey-backed GNA has achieved significant military success against Haftar’s LNA. On May 18, the GNA seized control of the Al-Watiya airbase, and on June 6 the GNA launched an offensive to take Sirte.
In response on June 20, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi warned the GNA to stop their advances towards Sirte and Jufrah airbase describing Sirte as a “red line” that if crossed, would prompt a “direct intervention” by Egyptian armed forces.
Five days later, Russian mercenaries from the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group entered Sharara oil field in an attempt to block production -- the area can produce one-third of Libya’s crude output.
On July 3, during a two-day visit to Tripoli, Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj discussed Turkish use of two military bases in Libya -- Misrata naval base and the al-Watiya airbase. On June 5, warplanes bombed al-Watiya airbase. The jets, identified as French-made Rafales, suggests the identity of the attacking power was France or Egypt -- the only countries within the range of the base that possess this type of aircraft.
As of now, no final solution to the Libyan crisis looks possible.
- Libya live map (Live Universal Awareness Map)
- Turkey in talks to use two Libya military bases (Reuters)
- Russian mercenaries enter Libyan oil field (Daily Sabah)
- Russian MiG-29 And Su-24 combat jets caught at Libyan airbase (The War Zone)
- Egypt’s Sisi Says Turkey/Qatar-Backed Assault on Libya’s Sirte Is ‘Red Line’ (Defense Post)
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