Tripoli and Ankara confirmed that they would continue to coordinate to confront any hostile move by retired Major General Khalifa Haftar, after calling on his forces to target Turkish forces operating in Libya, and while the Government of National Accord forces conducted patrols near the city of Sirte, the first prisoner exchange took place within the framework of the ceasefire agreement between the two parties. Conflict.
During talks that took place today, Saturday in Tripoli, the head of the Libyan Supreme Council of State Khaled Al-Mashri and Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar confirmed, “the continuation of joint coordination to repel any attempt by the rebel Haftar forces outlawed and legitimate to tamper with Libya’s stability and the security of its citizens,” according to what came In a statement by the State Council.
The statement said that the two sides affirmed the identical vision to solve the Libyan crisis, stressing that the only way to do so is through the peaceful political track, and that all parties sit at the dialogue table.
In the context of these discussions, the head of the Supreme Council of State in Libya affirmed that if war is imposed on the reconciliation government, it will not suffice to repel the aggression, but will end its source.
He said that there is complete harmony in the positions with the Turkish ally, and that his country is coordinating with him politically and militarily.
In addition to al-Mishri, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar met his Libyan counterpart, Salah al-Din al-Nimrush, and Akar also met with the Libyan Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, and visited the leadership of the Turkish forces operating in Libya.
The private Libyan “February” channel quoted Al-Nimroush as saying that the visit of his Turkish counterpart aims to assure everyone that Turkey is still on the side of the legitimate Libyan government, and supports the security and military agreement signed between the two countries late last year.
Earlier today, Akar arrived in the Libyan capital at the head of a delegation that included Chief of Staff Yasar Guler, Commander of the Land Forces Umit Dundar, Commander of the Navy, Adnan Uzbal, and the Turkish ambassador to Tripoli, Serhat Akens.
Al-Jazeera correspondent Amer Lavi indicated that the visit was not announced in advance, indicating that it is gaining importance in view of its timing, and the presence of Turkish army leaders in the delegation accompanying the Minister of Defense.
For his part, Al-Jazeera correspondent Mahmoud Abdel Wahid said that Akar oversaw the graduation ceremony of about 400 Libyan soldiers from the air and infantry forces, who received training by Turkish military personnel, indicating that the Turkish delegation’s visit came after the Turkish parliament approved last Tuesday a presidential memo to extend the deployment Turkish forces in Libya for an additional 18 months.
The visit of the Turkish delegation came days after Haftar called on his forces to prepare for what he said was a looming battle against the Turkish forces present in Libya under the security and military agreement.
Officials in the Government of National Accord accused Haftar of seeking to ignite a new military confrontation under the pretext of expelling what he calls the “Turkish enemy”, pointing to military movements of his forces in Sirte (450 kilometers east of Tripoli) and Jufrah (central Libya) that include bringing in more Russian, Chadian and Syrian mercenaries.
On the ground, the Sirte and Jufrah Operations Room of the Al-Wefaq government announced that its armed patrols roamed the desert areas southwest of the city of Sirte, to monitor any movement by Haftar’s forces and the Russian mercenaries who support them.
The Chamber said that the patrols started from Abu Qirin and Al Washaka (west of Sirte), reaching the lines of contact with Haftar’s forces, in implementation of the tasks assigned to them in the framework of maintaining security.
The field commander in the Al-Wefaq Forces Khaled Karrouad confirmed the readiness of these forces to deal with any move of what he described as “terrorist gangs and Wagner mercenaries.”
Earlier, the reconciliation government forces carried out a military parade in their areas of deployment west of Sirte, which Haftar considered as a clear violation of the principles of the ceasefire and the resulting understandings to take practical steps on the ground to reinforce it.
The Minister of Defense of the Government of National Accord, Salah Al-Nimroush, responded to the threats made by Haftar from Benghazi last Wednesday that the Accord forces were ready to face any aggression by the retired Major General installed by the Tobruk Parliament, “commander in chief of the armed forces” with the rank of Field Marshal.
On this night, Libyan families are overjoyed with joy at the return of their children and their loved ones after efforts and supervision from the 5 + 5 committee in accordance with the ceasefire agreement. pic.twitter.com/ObH1OadYxn
– Libyan Interior Minister (@fathi_bashagha) December 25, 2020
On the other hand, a source from the Libyan Joint Military Committee told Al-Jazeera that the committee completed, on Friday, the first prisoner exchange between the forces of the Accord Government and the forces of retired Major General Khalifa Haftar.
The operation included 15 prisoners of the Accord forces and 33 of Haftar’s forces in the Shwerf area (southwest of Tripoli).
The UN mission in Libya confirmed the exchange process for a first batch of prisoners within the framework of the ceasefire agreement reached by the Joint Military Committee on October 23, and called for the speedy implementation of the terms of the agreement.
Libyan Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha and the Tripoli Protection Force released photos and a video of the exchange.