Libyan Military claims killing 16 Turkish Army soldiers
ISLAMABAD - Forces loyal to Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar say they have killed 16 Turkish soldiers in recent weeks amid ongoing violence in the North African country.
A spokesman for Haftar's self-styled Libya National Army (LNA) said Sunday the Turkish soldiers were killed in the battle for Tripoli in the port city of Misrata, as well as the town of al-Falah south of the capital.
The announcement came a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged some Turkish losses in Libya's "struggle".
"We are there (in Libya) with our (Turkish) soldiers and our teams from the Syrian National Army. We continue the struggle there. We have several martyrs. In return, however, we neutralized nearly a hundred (of Haftar's) legionaries," Erdogan said.
On Friday, Erdogan confirmed for the first time the presence of pro-Turkish Syrian militants in Libya.
“Turkey is there with a training force. There are also people from the Syrian National Army,” he told reporters in Istanbul, referring to a group of anti-Damascus militants previously known as the so-called Free Syrian Army.
Libya’s internationally recognized government, led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, has previously sought Turkey’s support against militants under the command of Khalifa Haftar, who receive support from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Haftar’s rebels launched an offensive in April to wrest control of Triploi.