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3 Jan, 2020 22:10

Libyan National Army head Haftar declares JIHAD to ‘confront & expel’ Turkish troops

Libyan National Army head Haftar declares JIHAD to ‘confront & expel’ Turkish troops

General Khalifa Haftar has warned that his Libyan National Army (LNA) forces will mobilize to repel any foreign soldiers sent to Libya, after Turkey approved a troop deployment to assist the rival government in Tripoli.

The general vowed to “confront and expel” foreign forces in a statement on Friday, singling out Ankara by name.

“We declare jihad and general mobilization to counter the Turkish invasion,” Haftar said. “The Turkish friendly people must rise up against the adventurers who force their army to be wiped out in Libya.”

Also on rt.com Turkish parliament backs govt plan to send troops to Libya in emergency session

The Turkish parliament on Thursday gave the go-ahead for deploying soldiers to reinforce its allies in the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), one of the factions vying for control of Libya since the 2011 ouster of leader Muammar Gaddafi in a US-led NATO operation.

Ankara expressed hopes, however, that the deployment would be unnecessary and that Haftar would halt his months-long offensive on Tripoli, launched in April 2019.

Also on rt.com Imperial delusion: Turkey sending troops to Libya would be no solution to the chaos caused by the 2011 NATO intervention

Though the GNA is the internationally recognized government of Libya, most of the country is controlled by a rival government based in Tobruk and LNA troops loyal to Haftar. Under attack since the middle of last year, the GNA has been confined to the area around its base of operations in Tripoli.

Some observers fear that sending troops could only worsen matters in Libya, propelling the war into greater levels of bloodshed. The country is still reeling from the aftermath of Gaddafi’s removal from power – spearheaded by former US President Barack Obama – which ignited years of violent conflict, drove Europe’s refugee crisis and created lawlessness in which terror groups flourish.

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