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Military sources: Turkish Hawk air defense systems deployed at al-Watiya Air Base

The Libyan Address Journal

Turkish forces in western Libya have deployed at least two MIM-23 Hawk air defense systems at al-Watiya Air Base southwest of Tripoli, a military source told The Libyan Address Journal.

The military source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that the Turkish forces have also deployed two radar and jamming systems at the al-Watiya base, also known as Uqba ibn Nafi Air Base, indicating that units of the Turkish army have already begun to use and rehabilitate the facilities of the largest airbase in Libya.

“The goal of the Turkish forces from this step is to launch UAVs towards southern Libya in preparation for control of the Fezzan region,” the military source stated. Fezzan, which is controlled by the Libyan National Army, has the largest oil and gas fields in Libya, part of which supply Mellitah Gas, a joint venture between National Oil Corporation of Libya and ENI Italy.

Turkey also aims from stationing at al-Watiya base to achieve control over the North Africa airspace, especially over Tunisia and eastern Algeria. The base has been turned into a fully Turkish military facility managed by the Turkish army’s staff without any Libyan presence in it.

Islamist groups loyal to the Tripoli government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj announced in mid-May control over the al-Watiya base after heavy airstrikes by Turkish UAVs with the support of pro-Turkey Syrian mercenaries on the ground.

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