Libyan tribes to El-Sisi: ‘We need Egyptian support to expel Turkish colonizer’

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El-Sisi met mainly eastern Libyan tribesmen in a show of solidarity on Thursday. (Spokesman of the Egyptian Presidency)
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El-Sisi met mainly eastern Libyan tribesmen in a show of solidarity on Thursday. (Spokesman of the Egyptian Presidency)
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Updated 17 July 2020

Libyan tribes to El-Sisi: ‘We need Egyptian support to expel Turkish colonizer’

  • Delegation of tribal leaders thanks Egyptian president for his support

CAIRO: Libyan tribal leaders met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Thursday after flying from Benghazi to discuss the crisis in their country.
Bassam Radi, spokesman for the Egyptian presidency, said the meeting was held under the slogan “Egypt and Libya: One Nation and One Destiny.” Radi said El-Sisi told the Libyan tribes Egypt’s goal is to “activate the free will” of the Libyan people to have a better future for their country.
Head of the Supreme Council of Sheikhs and Notables of Libya Muhammad Al-Misbahi said the tribal delegation in Egypt represented all sects of the Libyan people. He thanked the Egyptian president, who announced his support for Libya.
“We need the support of the Egyptian armed forces to expel the Turkish colonizer,” Al-Misbahi said.
Turkey recently sent thousands of Syrian mercenaries to the country to support the Government of National Accord (GNA) in its conflict with the Libyan National Army (LNA).
Al-Mabrouk Abu Ameed, head of the Supreme Council of the Warshefana tribes and official spokesman for the Conference of Libyan Tribes and Cities, said that leaders met the Egyptian president to form a plan between the two countries. The group also pushed to activate a joint Arab defense agreement and called for the support of the Libyan armed forces.
They asked for legal measures to guarantee the unity and sovereignty of Libya and the protection of its people.
Abdel-Karim Al-Orfi, official spokesman for the Supreme Council of Sheikhs and Notables of Libya, said the delegation’s visit to Egypt highlights the strong historical relationship between Libyan and Egyptian tribes, sending a message to the world that Arab nations are united.
He added that the Supreme Council has maintained a consistent position since the beginning of the Turkish invasion.

At least 7,000 sheikhs gathered in the city of Tarhuna in February to release a statement which described the Turkish strategy as an “invasion.” It was followed by several statements calling on tribes to resist Turkish activity in the country.
The statements said the relationship between the Egyptian and Libyan people “is not one that was requested but rather a relationship that comes from a clear fate that will be impacted if either countries are exposed to danger.” The council called on tribal volunteers to resist the invasion.
Ramzi Al-Rumaih, adviser to the Libyan Organization for National Security Studies, said visits to Egypt by tribal elders have happened for hundreds of years. There are more than 15 million Egyptians in Egypt who have Libyan backgrounds.
“Libyan tribal elders came to Cairo to emphasize everything that was stated in the Cairo initiative, as Egypt knows the strategic dimension of its neighboring country Libya,” Al-Rumaih said.
Egypt oversaw the Cairo Declaration, a new peace plan to restore stability in Libya following months of armed conflict between the GNA and LNA.
“The tribal elders who met the Egyptian president confirmed that the 2,000 tribes know that Egypt is a safe place,” Al-Rumaih added.
El-Sisi said in a speech last month that Sirte and Al-Jufra are strategically important in Libya, and that they represent a “red line” for the Egypt.
During the speech, the leader said Egyptian intervention in Libya had become legal.
“The Egyptian forces readiness to fight has become a necessity,” he added.
He said that Egypt is keen to reach a comprehensive settlement in Libya and wants to maintain the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
 


 


Turkey-backed fighters retaliate against Syria-allied troops

Updated 23 min 41 sec ago

Turkey-backed fighters retaliate against Syria-allied troops

  • Renewed violence has undermined an already shaky cease-fire in place since March

BEIRUT: Syrian opposition groups lobbed hundreds of missiles and artillery rockets at government posts in northwestern Syria on Tuesday, in retaliation for a deadly attack that killed dozens of their fighters a day earlier.
The renewed violence has undermined an already shaky cease-fire in place since March that aimed to quell military operations and government troop advances in the overcrowded rebel enclave.
The Turkey-backed groups, operating under the umbrella of the National Front for Liberation, fired hundreds of artillery rounds and missiles since late Monday at government posts in territories adjacent to areas they control in Idlib and Aleppo provinces.
A spokesman for the NFL, Naji Al-Mustafa, said the rebel’s military retaliation targeted and killed Russian officers in southern Idlib, as well as Syrian soldiers working in the area.
The report could not be independently verified and there was no immediate comment from Russia or Syria.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights recorded hundreds of projectiles lobbed by opposition fighters at nearly 20 government posts in different locations in southern Idlib, western Aleppo and the coastal province of Latakia. The Observatory said there were casualties but had no details.
Monday’s strike was the deadliest in Idlib since the Turkish-Russian-brokered truce there came into effect in March, raising fears that the truce could further fray. Some 1 million people were displaced by the last offensive inside the already packed enclave, home to over 3 million.
The airstrike on a rebel training camp near the border with Turkey killed more than 50 Turkish-backed fighters, according to one opposition spokesman, and wounded nearly as many, in one of the heaviest blows to the opposition’s strongest groups. The Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war in Syria, put the toll at 78 fighters dead and nearly 90 wounded.
The camp, operated by Faylaq Al-Sham, an NFL faction, was hosting training sessions for new recruits. The NFL said a “large number” of fighters were killed, but declined to give details. It vowed retaliation and blamed Russia for the attack.
US Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey said the escalation in Idlib in violation of the March cease-fire deal is “dangerous” and threatens to prolong the conflict and deepen the Syrian people’s suffering. Jeffrey said the UN-led political process is the only way to peace and stability in Syria.
“By continuing their quest for a military victory, the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian allies are threatening the stability of the surrounding region,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “It is time for the Assad regime and its allies to end their needless, brutal war against the Syrian people.”
Russia and Turkey, although they support opposite sides in Syria’s nine-year conflict, have worked together to maintain a cease-fire in the last enclave of Syria’s rebels. But the attack comes as relations between the two countries have shown signs of strain over Turkey’s increased military involvement in a region stretching from Syria to the Caucasus and the Mediterranean.