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Ankara warns against attacks on its interests in Libya amid anti-Haftar forces’ advances

Ankara warns against attacks on its interests in Libya amid anti-Haftar forces’ advances

Turkey warned on Thursday that attacks on its interests in Libya by Khalifa Haftar’s forces will have “very grave consequences,” after advances by the country’s Ankara-backed government. Turkey has provided military support to the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya, which has been battling to fend off a year-long offensive by Haftar’s eastern forces to take control of the capital, Tripoli.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) had received warplanes with “foreign support” and that they had vowed to target Turkish positions in Libya with an air campaign, Reuters reports.

“In the event Turkish interests in Libya are targeted, this will have very grave consequences,” Aksoy said. Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin was quoted as saying by broadcaster NTV that attacks on Turkish positions would prompt heavy retaliation.

In what could be their most significant advance for nearly a year, the GNA took control of the Watiya air base south-west of Tripoli on Monday. The LNA has been unable to make significant progress since early on in its campaign, but it controls eastern and southern Libya.