‘A game-changer in every sense’: Libya warlord Khalifa Haftar loses key airbase to forces allied with Turkey

Victory boosts Turkey’s presence in north Africa, writes Borzou Daragahi

Borzou Daragahi
International Correspondent
Monday 18 May 2020 21:03
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Fighters loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord climb over a partially diassembled MiG 23 aircraft, after seizing Al-Wattiya airbase, southwest of the capital Tripol
Fighters loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord climb over a partially diassembled MiG 23 aircraft, after seizing Al-Wattiya airbase, southwest of the capital Tripol

Forces loyal to the internationally recognised government in Libya, backed by Turkey, have seized control of a strategic airbase to the southwest of the capital, Tripoli, from the renegade warlord Khalifa Haftar.

The United Nations-endorsed Government of National Accord (GNA) announced the predawn capture of the al-Wattiya airbase after six weeks of intense fighting.

Video showed fighters zooming into the desert airbase past fortified bunkers and the carcasses of destroyed planes as dawn was breaking, cheering “Allahu akbar”, or ‘God is great.’ In other footage, young fighters in T-shirts could be seen making off with boxes of ammunition left at the base.

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