The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

At least 16 Turkish soldiers killed in fighting in Libya: Haftar forces

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 23 February 2020 7:25 PM

Forces loyal to Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar say they have killed 16 Turkish soldiers in recent weeks amid ongoing violence in the North African country.

A spokesman for Haftar's self-styled Libya National Army (LNA) said Sunday the Turkish soldiers were killed in the battle for Tripoli in the port city of Misrata, as well as the town of al-Falah south of the capital.

The announcement came a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged some Turkish losses in Libya's "struggle".

"We are there (in Libya) with our (Turkish) soldiers and our teams from the Syrian National Army. We continue the struggle there. We have several martyrs. In return, however, we neutralized nearly a hundred (of Haftar's) legionaries," Erdogan said.

On Friday, Erdogan confirmed for the first time the presence of pro-Turkish Syrian militants in Libya.

"Turkey is there with a training force. There are also people from the Syrian National Army," he told reporters in Istanbul, referring to a group of anti-Damascus militants previously known as the so-called Free Syrian Army.

Libya's internationally recognized government, led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, has previously sought Turkey's support against militants under the command of Khalifa Haftar, who receive support from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Haftar's rebels launched an offensive in April to wrest control of Triploi.

The offensive has so far killed 1000 people and displaced some 146,000 people, according to United Nations figures.

Back in November, Serraj signed a military cooperation deal with Erdogan, under which Ankara agreed to send troops to support GNA forces.

Libya has since 2014 been divided between two rival camps, the Tripoli-based government of Sarraj, and a camp in the eastern city of Tobruk, supported militarily by rebel forces under the command of Khalifa Haftar.

Numerous attempts to broker peace between the two sides of the conflict have failed.

The oil-rich county has been plunged into chaos since 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi and his execution by unruly fighters.

Join the mailing list