Libyan air strikes kill four, wound 37: government

Heavy smoke rises above buildings during clashes between the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar, in Espiaa, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of the Libyan capital Tripoli on April 29, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 30 April 2019
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Libyan air strikes kill four, wound 37: government

  • The country has been mired in chaos since the NATO-backed uprising that deposed and killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011

TRIPOLI: Air raids on Tripoli Sunday night killed four people and wounded 37, Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) said Monday, blaming the attacks on strongman Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA).
This came a day after a similar attack on the capital killed another four civilians and injured 20, according to the GNA.
Haftar’s LNA launched an offensive against Tripoli, the seat of the internationally-recognized GNA, on April 4.
After initial gains, Haftar’s forces have encountered stiff resistance on the southern outskirts and his troops have been pushed back in some areas.
At least 278 people have been killed and more than 1,300 wounded in the clashes, according to a toll released Wednesday by the World Health Organization.
The GNA accuses Haftar of using foreign planes to carry out air strikes, without naming a country of origin.
After Sunday’s raids, “public hospitals received four dead people — three civilians and a soldier, and 37 wounded, Amin Al-Hachemi, a spokesman for the GNA health ministry told AFP.
“The toll may rise given that victims have been transported to private hospitals.”
The parts of Tripoli struck were Abou Slim, a densely-populated residential area in the south, and Ain Zara, a southern suburb that has seen several violent clashes in recent weeks.
A spokesman for the LNA confirmed Saturday’s strikes on the capital, but said they were aimed at military targets.
“The capital is experiencing an escalation in the military offensive, war crimes, and indiscriminate bombings of residential areas, public facilities and infrastructure,” Mohanad Younes, a spokesman for the GNA, said on the government’s Facebook page.
“Unmanned foreign planes participated in these raids, the latest ones having hit homes in Ain Zara and Abou Slim,” said Younes.
The responsibility for these acts, he added, rests “with the states which support the belligerent forces of the criminal Haftar.”
Haftar’s offensive has sharpened fault lines in policy toward Libya among world powers.
On April 18, Russia and the United States opposed a British bid backed by France and Germany at the UN Security Council to demand a cease-fire in the North African country.
The White House revealed the next day that Donald Trump had reached out personally to Haftar in a phone call, during which the US president “recognized Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources.”
The country has been mired in chaos since the NATO-backed uprising that deposed and killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.


Turkey sends weapons to opposition fighters in Syria

Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters get a major boost as Ankara backs them with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them hold their ground. (Reuters)
Updated 26 May 2019
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Turkey sends weapons to opposition fighters in Syria

  • Ankara signals readiness to preserve its influence in Syria’s Idlib province in northwestern region

AMMAN: Turkey has equipped an array of mainstream Syrian opposition fighters it backs with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them try to repel a major Russian-backed assault, senior opposition officials and opposition sources said on Saturday.
Russia is backing the Syrian army’s large aerial and ground assault as it seeks to gain control of the last big stretch of opposition-held territory in the northwest of the country.
Syria’s Bashar Assad launched the assault last month, saying fighters had breached an existing cease-fire, triggering a civilian exodus by bombarding Idlib and adjacent areas. It has been the biggest escalation since last summer between Assad and the opposition fighters in Idlib province and a belt of territory around it.
Ankara stepped up supplies in recent days after failing to persuade Russia in recent meetings of a joint working group that it should end its escalation to avert a major influx of refugees pouring into Turkey, two senior opposition figures said.

FASTFACT

Ankara stepped up supplies in recent days after failing to persuade Russia in recent meetings of a joint working group that it should end its escalation to avert a major influx of refugees pouring into Turkey.

In doing so Turkey signaled its readiness to preserve its influence in northwestern Syria, where it has beefed up its troop presence in a dozen military bases that were set up under a de-escalation deal with Russia, a senior opposition commander said. Turkish officials were not immediately available for comment.
Overnight, a Turkish military convoy arrived in a base in northern Hama near opposition-held Jabal Al-Zawiya, where Russian and Syrian jets have been pounding for weeks, a fighter and a witness said.
The delivery of dozens of armored vehicles, Grad rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles helped roll back some army gains and retake the strategically located town of Kfar Nabouda.