May 19, 2019 / 9:11 AM / 4 months ago

Forces loyal to Libya's U.N.-backed government receive military hardware

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - A coalition of forces allied with Libya’s U.N.-backed government of national accord (GNA) said it had received a shipment of armoured vehicles and arms on Saturday as it tries to stop Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) from taking the capital, Tripoli.

“The GNA is fostering its forces defending Tripoli with armoured vehicles, ammunition and quality weapons,” the pro-GNA coalition said on one of its Facebook page, without giving further details about the origin of the military equipment.

Pictures and videos posted by the coalition on its Facebook pages showed what appeared to be dozens of Turkish-made BMC Kirpi armoured vehicles in Tripoli port.

The GNA and the Turkish Embassy could not immediately be reached for comment.

Earlier this month, a Tripoli government spokesman said his administration was talking to its ally Turkey to obtain “anything that is needed to stop the assault,” including military and civilian help.

The LNA, which is allied to a rival administration in eastern Libya, launched an offensive to control Tripoli in early April. As the fighting drags on, 75,000 people have fled their homes and 126 civilians have been killed, according to the latest U.N. figures.

Since 2014, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt have provided the LNA with military equipment such as aircraft and helicopters, helping Haftar to gain the upper hand in Libya’s eight-year conflict, according to previous U.N. reports.

Turkey and Qatar are at loggerheads with the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia over several regional issues including support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Reporting by Ahmed Elumami; Writing by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Helen Popper

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