Haftar's Tripoli offensive suffers major setback.
From vows to capture the capital within 48 hours to losing a key airbase and withdrawing from frontlines - the Turkish involvement in Libya in support of the legitimate government destroyed warlord Haftar's plans to capture more land and instead led to Haftar losing ground.
On April 4, 2019, Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar announced an offensive named “Flood of Dignity” to capture the country’s capital.
Footage showed vehicles and militias of the Haftar-loyal Libyan National Army heading towards Tripoli under the control of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord.
Backed by the UAE and Egypt, the LNA launched heavy attacks on the capital and other areas under control of the GNA.
The attacks were not significantly condemned by the international community other than calls to end military action while France and Russia kept the pressure on Haftar to a minimum.
Haftar announced that the capital would fall within 48 hours after capturing several locations, urging GNA troops to surrender.
The battles continued for months and it looked like the LNA would succeed in capturing Tripoli.
However, soon the GNA troops should go into an offensive position from a defensive one.
The increased Turkish support to the UN-recognized legitimate government dramatically changed the situation.
The Government of National Accord requested military assistance from Turkey - this request was welcomed by Turkey.
In January 2020, the Turkish parliament approved a bill that would allow troop deployment in Libya, opening the path for a Turkish military operation.
In the same week, Turkish President Erdogan said that military units are moving to Libya in order to support the GNA.
He declared that there will be an operations center with a lieutnant general in charge.
In addition to troops, Turkey stepped up logistic support to the GNA.
Armored vehicles, weapons, ammunition and armed UAVs were sent to Libya.
The combat drones changed the tide of the battle, enabling GNA troops to conduct heavy precision strikes on Haftar militias.
As a result of this increased support, Haftar’s LNA started to lose more and more ground despite being backed by the UAE, Egypt and even Russian mercenaries.
The collapse of his Tripoli offensive fully revealed itself with the capture of areas south and west of Tripoli by the GNA.
This success has led to many other cities in Haftar controlled areas announcing their allegiance to the GNA.
Now the GNA is in a position where it attacks - and Haftar has to defend.
Over the past weeks, the GNA has increased its operations and destroyed three Russian Pantsir air defence systems.
#UMH güçlerinin son 48 saat içinde düzenlediği operasyonlarda;— EHA MEDYA (@eha_medya) May 18, 2020
-3 Rus malı Pantsir Hava Savunma Sistemi
-1 Çin malı Wing Loong 2 #SİHA
- Krasuhka Elektronik Karıştırma Aracı
- Pantsir S-1 füzelerini taşıyan mühimmat kamyonu imha edildi.
- #Vatiyye Hava Üssü ele geçirildi pic.twitter.com/VYPtE74Lt7
Another one was captured at the Watia airbase southwest of Tripoli while another system was found destroyed under the rubble of a hangar at the airbase - just as in Syria, Russian air defence systems once again were the target of Turkish drones.
Türkiye destekli #UMH güçlerinin son 48 saat içinde düzenlediği operasyonlarda;— EHA MEDYA (@eha_medya) May 18, 2020
Stratejik #Vatiyye Hava Üssü ele geçirildi
3 Rus malı Pantsir Hava Savunma Sistemi aracı imha edildi.
1 Rus malı Pantsir hava savunma sistemi aracı sağlam halde ele geçirildi. pic.twitter.com/4Ef7a0x84U
The airbase itself was recently captured by the legitimate government - a major defeat for warlord Haftar whose troops claim that they withdrew from the base.
2014 yılından bu yana darbeci Hafter'in işgali altında olan,— EHA MEDYA (@eha_medya) May 18, 2020
50 km2 alana sahip,
7-10 bin asker kapasiteli,
Libya'nın en büyük askeri hava üssü Vatiyye Hava üssü, Türkiye destekli #UMH güçleri tarafından kurtarıldı.pic.twitter.com/Zu3mw8LUf8
A large amount of military equipment was seized by troops of the Government of National Accord at the airbase. Armored vehicles, ammunition, helicopters and even planes were secured.
Türkiye destekli #UMH güçleri, Libya'nın en büyük askeri hava üssünü Hafter'in işgalinden kurtarıp kontrollerine aldılar.— EHA MEDYA (@eha_medya) May 18, 2020
Vatiyye askeri hava üssünde ele geçirilen uçaklar ve helikopterler ile mühimmatları. pic.twitter.com/j6NBC1Pe0b
The seized Pantsir air defence system was paraded in the streets of capital Tripoli as a sign of the victory against Haftar militias.
Vatiyye üssünde ele geçirilen Rus malı Pantsir hava savunma sistemi,— EHA MEDYA (@eha_medya) May 18, 2020
Trablus yollarında sergileniyor..
Zaferin nişanı olarak.. pic.twitter.com/jrlr4VCYnv
Today, LNA spokesman Mismari announced a “tactical withdrawal” of Haftar militias from southern Tripoli frontlines. admitting the loss of the airbase.
Following this statement, GNA forces were able to capture more areas in western Libya, south of the Watia airbase.
The Turkish involvement in Libya has clearly led to a complete change of the tide and put the internationally recognized goverment into a favourable position.