Khalifa Haftar forces free ship with Turkish crew


In November, Tripoli's UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) signed the controversial maritime delimitation deal with Ankara, alongside a military cooperation agreement.

Ankara, with NATO's second largest army, has hinted for weeks that it would flex its military muscle in Libya to defend the embattled GNA government, which is also supported by Qatar.

That came a day after he made a brief visit to Libya's neighbour Tunisia, where he announced that "if Turkey is invited (to send troops to support the unity government), we will accept".

"We will give all forms of support to the Tripoli government which is fighting against a putschist general backed by various Arab and European countries", Erdogan said. His position has fueled concern the Libyan conflict is tipping deeper into a grinding proxy war.

'We will go to places where we are invited to, and not go to places we are not invited to, ' Erdogan said.

Turkey, with the support of the rebel factions it backs, has launched three military incursions into northern Syria since 2016 against the "Islamic State" and US-backed Kurdish forces.

The expanding conflict has alarmed the USA, which is now pressing harder for a peace deal.

FSB shooting: 'Loner' Russian gunman identified
As a result, "one FSB officer died, another five people, including one civilian, were injured to various degrees of severity". Russia's domestic security service said it was working to establish the gunman's identity, Interfax reported .

Sending Turkish troops will complicate the situation in an already fragile country torn by internal dissent since the ouster and killing of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. It is believed, that this could pave the way for Ankara to intervene to assist the Tripoli-based government, in its ongoing battle with Haftar's Libyan National Army.

The forces of the renegade Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar have released a ship with Turkish crew members captured during the weekend in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Turkish ship, registered in Grenada, was taken to the port of Ras al-Helal near the eastern city of Derna "to search and verify its cargo", Ahmed al-Mesmari, the spokesman for Haftar's forces, said in a statement.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry reportedly held a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov over the situation in Libya and urged for further efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement of the crisis in the oil-rich country.

Erdogan is keen to avoid a face-off with Russian Federation in Libya but still criticized Wagner's activities earlier this week. Erdogan has said Turkey will not stay silent over mercenaries from the Kremlin-linked Wagner group supporting Haftar. "It's obvious who pays them".

As some 60 percent of Greeks were anxious that provocations in the seas could bring a conflict, Turkey is ramping up its belligerent strategy of claiming waters in the Aegean and East Mediterraenean, off Greek islands, after striking a deal with Libya dividing waters between them.