Turkey’s Erdogan meets head of weakening Tripoli government Sarraj

Turkey’s president has met with the head of Libya’s “recognized” government, following heightened tensions between Turkey and forces loyal to a rival Libyan authority. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 06 July 2019
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Turkey’s Erdogan meets head of weakening Tripoli government Sarraj

  • Libya is split between two warring governments
  • The Libyan National Army of Khalifa Haftar rules much of the rest of the country

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s president has met with the head of Libya’s “recognized” government, following heightened tensions between Turkey and forces loyal to a rival Libyan authority.
In a statement from his office late Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his support for Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj’s forces.
Libya is split between two warring governments. Sarraj leads the weakened Tripoli government in the west, supported by an array of militias.
The Libyan National Army of Khalifa Haftar rules much of the rest of the country. His ongoing offensive to seize the capital has threatened to plunge Libya into another bout of violence on the scale of the conflict that ousted Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
Erdogan called on Haftar’s forces to cease their attacks.
The military commander’s forces has said that Turkish vessels and interests would be considered targets, after accusing Turkey of helping militias allied with the Tripoli government. Six Turkish nationals were freed this week after Turkey threatened action.
The LNA also said it deployed more troops to join the Tripoli fighting.
On Friday, its media center posted footage it says shows “military battalions” that would be sent to the front for the first time. The footage showed dozens of armored vehicles moving in the desert under air cover.
The reinforcements came less than two weeks after Haftar’s forces were driven out of the strategic town of Gharyan, in a surprise attack by militiamen aligned with the Tripoli government.
The UN health agency said the death toll from the fighting around the capital had reached nearly 1000, including 53 who were killed in the airstrike on the Tajoura detention center for migrants.
The World Health Organization said the fighting has wounded over 5,000 others since Haftar launched his offensive on April 4.
Fighters aligned with the government in Tripoli received Turkish-made armored vehicles in May. The LNA said it destroyed Turkish-made drones during the fighting.
In a telephone call Saturday, Erdogan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the Libyan crisis, among other topics. Haftar is backed by Russia, along with his Arab allies of the UAE and Egypt.
Haftar’s campaign against Islamic militants across Libya since 2014 won him growing support from world leaders concerned that Libya had become a haven for armed groups and a major conduit for migrants. But critics view him as an aspiring autocrat and fear a return to one-man rule.


Israeli bid to deport Jerusalem father ‘illegal and immoral’

This picture taken on July 22, 2019 from the West Bank village of Dar Salah shows the demolition of a Palestinian building which was under construction in the the Palestinian village of Sur Baher in East Jerusalem. (AFP)
Updated 39 sec ago
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Israeli bid to deport Jerusalem father ‘illegal and immoral’

  • Israel twice tried to banish news photographer Mustafa Kharouf turned back from Jordanian border crossings after

AMMAN: Two attempts by Israel to deport a stateless Jerusalem dad to Jordan have been condemned as “illegal and immoral. ”Israeli officials were twice turned back from Jordanian border crossings within the space of 16 hours after trying to banish news photographer Mustafa Kharouf.
The married father-of-one, who was born in the Algerian capital Algiers but has lived in Jerusalem all his life, was driven to separate border checkpoints on Sunday night and Monday morning only to be turned away.
Kharouf has been separated from his family since being arrested by Israeli immigration authorities more than six months ago. The deportation attempts came after lawyers had exhausted efforts to block his expulsion from the city.
Adi Lustigman, representing Kharouf on behalf of Israel-based human rights organization HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual, told Arab News that the Israeli actions were “both illegal and immoral.”
The lawyer said that Kharouf had been moved to Jerusalem as a baby and was a photographer working for the Turkish Anadolu News Agency. She added: “He has no legal status in Jordan, and no connection to the country in which he spent just a few hours as a child, when he passed through it to enter Israel.
“His parents, brothers and sisters live in Jerusalem. His wife and his two-year-old daughter, from whom he has been separated for over six months due to his arrest by the Israeli immigration authorities, live in Jerusalem. His home is Jerusalem.”

FASTFACT

The married father-of-one, who was born in the Algerian capital Algiers but has lived in Jerusalem all his life, was driven to separate border checkpoints on Sunday night and Monday morning only to be turned away.

The drama began at 9 p.m. on Sunday when an Israeli police car drove Kharouf from Ramleh prison to the King Hussein Bridge near Jericho.
Col. Rafaat Matarneh told Arab News that Jordanian border guards refused to allow Kharouf entry to the country without appropriate documentation.
Raja’a Khatib, a journalist colleague, said that after three hours of attempts to convince the Jordanians to take Kharouf the Israelis gave up and left, only to try again on Monday morning by driving him south to the Wadi Araba crossing. But the Jordanians refused his entry a second time.
Lustigman said: “Israel’s failed attempt to deport Kharouf to Jordan strengthens our claim that there is no place for him to go other than back to his home in Jerusalem. We urge Israel to find a humane solution for him and his family.”