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

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.


Kuwait Airways announces flights to Mashhad to evacuate more than 700 people

Updated 22 February 2020

Kuwait Airways announces flights to Mashhad to evacuate more than 700 people

  • Number of deaths from virus in Iran has reached six
  • Most of the cases, including eight new infections, have been in Qom

LONDON: Kuwait Airways announced on Saturday that several special flights to the Iranian city of Mashhad will operate in order to evacuate more than 700 people today.

The airline suspended all flights to Iran on Thursday but said it would operate evacuation flights as and when the need arises. 

Meanwhile, Oman’s Ministry of Health advised its citizens to avoid traveling to countries where cases of coronavirus have been reported. 

It added that travelers coming from China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Iran should contact the ministry so that it could guide them with regards to quarantine and other precautionary measures.

Authorities in Iran on Saturday announced the detection of at least 10 new cases of coronavirus and two more deaths, deepening a sense of public unease over the handling of the spread of the disease.

The latest cases appeared to bring the number of cases in Iran to 29 and the number of deaths to six.

News of the latest cases and deaths came from Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur and the governor of Markazi province in central Iran, cited by state TV.

The Health Ministry earlier on Saturday noted a total number of 28 cases and five deaths and the governor announced a death in Markazi province later in the day.

Most of the cases, including eight of the new infections, have been in Qom, a Shiite Muslim holy city 120 km (75 miles) south of the capital Tehran.

(With Reuters)