Saudi Arabia condemns Turkey’s military interference in Libya

Members of the Libyan Parliament in Benghazi accused Ankara of “a return to colonialism.” (File/AFP)
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Updated 05 January 2020

Saudi Arabia condemns Turkey’s military interference in Libya

  • Saudi Arabia considers the interference a violation of sovereignty
  • Members of Libya’s Parliament in Benghazi accused Ankara of ‘a return to colonialism’

DUBAI/JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s government condemned the latest Turkish interference in Libya, state news agency SPA reported on Saturday.

The Kingdom denounced Turkey’s parliament approving the military deployment in Libya, describing it is a violation of the United Nation’s Security Council resolution on the conflict in the north African country, which aims to solve the crisis.

The resolution was adopted by the Arab League on Dec. 31, 2019.

Saudi officials believe the Turkish interference constitutes a threat to security and stability in Libya and threatens regional and Arab security. It is also an interference in the internal affairs, which it says violates international principles of sovereignty.

Other states have also opposed Turkish President’s Recep plans to send troops to fight in Libya.

Egypt’s Foreign Relations committee at the House of Representatives called Turkish plan for Libya an invasion that endangers Arab safety on Sunday.

Members of the Libyan Parliament in Benghazi accused Ankara of “a return to colonialism,” and the African Union said it was deeply concerned about “interference” in Libya.

Turkish politicians last week approved a law authorizing a military deployment in Libya to shore up the UN-backed government in Tripoli, which has been under sustained attack since April from the rival administration in the east.

At an emergency meeting of the Libyan Parliament in the eastern city of Benghazi, members accused the Tripoli government of “high treason” because of the maritime and military deals it signed with Ankara in November, clearing the way for a Turkish military intervention.

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Members of Libya’s Parliament in Benghazi accused Ankara of ‘a return to colonialism.’

Parliament spokesman Abdallah Bleheq said MPs voted unanimously to scrap the accords, and to sever ties with Ankara.

In Addis Ababa, African Union chief Moussa Faki Mahamat said he was “deeply concerned at the deterioration of the situation in Libya and the continuing suffering of the Libyan people.”

“The various threats of political and military interference in the internal affairs of the country increase the risk of a confrontation, whose motives have nothing to do with the fundamental interests of the Libyan people and their aspirations for freedom, peace, democracy and development,” Faki said.

He urged the international community to join forces with Africa in seeking a peaceful resolution of the crisis, which he warned had “dangerous consequences” for the continent as a whole.


Turkey says it destroyed ‘chemical warfare facility’ in Syria

Updated 29 February 2020

Turkey says it destroyed ‘chemical warfare facility’ in Syria

  • Thirty-three Turkish soldiers were killed in an air strike by Russian-backed Syrian regime forces in the Idlib region on Thursday
  • Erdogan may travel next week to Moscow for talks

BEIRUT/ISTANBUL: Turkish ground and air strikes on Syrian government forces and their allies in northwest Syria’s Idlib have killed 48 pro-Damascus soldiers in the past 24 hours, the Syrian Observatory, a war monitor, reported on Saturday.
It said that Syrian government and Russian warplanes continued air strikes on Saturday on the strategic eastern Idlib city of Saraqeb, a focal point of intensified fighting in recent days between Turkish-backed rebels and Damascus.

Meanwhile, Turkish official said Saturday that Turkey destroyed a chemical warfare facility after dozens of its soldiers were killed by Syrian regime fire in the last-rebel enclave of Idlib province.
The Turkish army destroyed overnight “a chemical warfare facility, located some 13 kilometres south of Aleppo, along with a large number of other regime targets,” the senior official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on sources inside the war-torn country, said that Turkey instead hit a military airport in eastern Aleppo, where the monitoring group says there are no chemical weapons.
Thirty-three Turkish soldiers were killed in an air strike by Russian-backed Syrian regime forces in the Idlib region on Thursday, the biggest Turkish military loss on the battlefield in recent years.
The latest incident has raised further tensions between Ankara and Moscow, whose relationship has been tested by violations of a 2018 deal to prevent a regime offensive on Idlib.

Moscow and Ankara expressed hope for a “reduction in tensions” in Syria during high-level Russian-Turkish talks in recent days, Russia’s foreign ministry said Saturday.
“On both sides, the focus has been on reducing tensions on the ground while continuing to fight terrorists recognised as such by the United Nations Security Council,” Moscow’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Officials from both Turkey and Russia also said they want to “protect civilians inside and outside the (Idlib) de-escalation zone and provide emergency humanitarian aid to all those in need,” the ministry said.
On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin expressed their concern over the situation in Idlib during a telephone conversation.
The Kremlin said the two leaders could meet in Moscow next week.
As part of the agreement, Ankara set up 12 observation posts in the province but Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces -- backed by Russian air power -- have pressed on with a relentless campaign to take back the region.
On Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by phone with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in a bid to scale down the tensions.
Erdogan may travel next week to Moscow for talks, according to the Kremlin.
Despite being on opposite ends, Turkey, which backs several rebel groups in Syria, and key regime ally Russia are trying to find a political solution to the Syria conflict.