Libya’s GNA attacks Haftar’s forces in Al-Watiya airbase
Libyan government forces launched a military operation early Tuesday to liberate Al-Watiya airbase, southwest of the capital Tripoli and controlled by militias loyal to renegade commander Khalifa Haftar, a military sources have reported.
Libyan Government of National Accord sources said heavy artillery by the Libyan army paved the way for forces to launch a ground offensive at the base.
“Clashes are raging on near the base,” the source said.
Meanwhile, a Libyan military official said that the head of Haftar’s forces at the airbase, Osama Emseik, was killed in the operation.
“The commander of the Al-Watiya protection force of the Haftar terrorist militia, Osama Emseik, was killed in an attack by government forces on the base,” the official said.
On Friday, the Libyan government conducted five air operations targeting militants loyal to Haftar at the base.
Al-Watiya is regarded as a key airbase in the country and is second only to Mitiga Airport. It was captured in August 2014 by Haftar, the leader of illegal armed forces in eastern Libya, who used it as his headquarters for western operations.
The Libyan government has been under attack by Haftar’s forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence. It launched Operation Peace Storm on March 26 to counter attacks on the capital.
As part of Operation Peace Storm, air operations are being periodically carried out against the base.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised speech on Monday that “good new news from Libya will be returned to us soon, God willing,” stressing that “Libya’s security, safety and prosperity of its people is the key to stability in the entire North African and Mediterranean region.”
Erdogan said Turkey is determined to continue supporting Libya’s legitimate government to transform the area into a region of peace.
He also said thanks to Turkey’s support for the legitimate government Haftar is losing ground.