Russia, Turkey ‘Creating Spheres Of Influence' In Libya

Gulf Today|May 29, 2020

Russia, Turkey ‘Creating Spheres Of Influence' In Libya
US accuses Russia of ‘clearly trying to tip the scales in its favour in Libya’ and also accuses Moscow of sending fighter jets to support the mercenaries

After backing rival sides in Libya’s long-running conflict, Russia and Turkey appear to have agreed to avoid direct confrontation and instead carve the country into “spheres of influence”, analysts say.

The oil-rich North African nation has suffered almost a decade of violence since longtime dictator Muammer Qadhafi was toppled and killed in a 2011 uprising backed by several Western powers.

Since April last year, eastern Libya-based strongman Khalifa Haftar has been battling to take the capital Tripoli from the Government of National Accord (GNA).

And in recent weeks the GNA, supported by Turkey with drones and air defence systems, has inflicted a string of battlefield setbacks.

In April they reseized key western coastal cities, followed by the strategic Al-Watiya airbase southwest of Tripoli.

In recent days, hundreds of Russian mercenaries belonging to the Wagner Group, a shadowy paramilitary organization seen as close to President Vladimir Putin, have withdrawn from combat zones south of the capital.

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May 29, 2020