Troops from the Libyan military leader Khalifa Haftar are getting closer to the capital Tripoli, thanks to the military support of the Russians. The Haftar forces are thus threatening the position of the UN-recognized Libyan government.
Now that Turkey has offered military support to the Libyan government, it appears that the Turkish-Russian military intervention in Syria is coming to an end. Libya also seems to have increasingly become a fall-back place for all sorts of battle groups from the Syrian front.
As a result, the European Union's attempts to get a grip on human smuggling across the Mediterranean also threaten to end up in international military waters. Due to the chaos in the country, many African migrants use Libya as a transit country to Europe. Jihadist organizations such as IS also use the chaos to hide in the country.
“Ever since the Russians joined the Haftar forces, they are gaining ground. In the last ten days, the fighting is expanding to the outskirts of Tripoli, "said UN envoy Salame, who says he cannot rule out the possibility of a further advance. The Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Syala also confirmed that the Russians are making an important contribution and that it is not excluded that this will conquer Tripoli.
There has been chaos in Libya since the 2011 revolution, when dictator Moammar Gaddafi was deposed. General Haftar's self-proclaimed Libyan National Army, based in Tobruk, fights for power against the internationally recognized government in Tripoli, led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. Haftar had launched an offensive on Tripoli in April.
Both groups in Libya receive support from abroad. For example, Turkey would recently support the internationally recognized government militarily. Last week troops from Haftar boarded a Turkish cargo ship off the east coast of Libya to search it. They announced that themselves.
The announcement comes on the day that the Turkish parliament approved an agreement on military and security cooperation with the Libyan government. This allows Ankara to develop its presence in Libya. The agreement was concluded with the Libyan "government of national unity" recognized by the United Nations.
Turkey has always supported that government in its war against the Haftar forces. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised on December 10 that he would send troops if the Libyan government asked. The troops of Haftar in turn receive support from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, two regional rivals of Ankara.