Who Conducted the Airstrikes in Al-Zawiya .. Turkey or Libya?


On Thursday, the Official Spokesman for the Government of National Unity (GNU), Mohamed Hammouda commented on the airstrikes that targeted various areas in Al-Zawiya.

“This morning our national air force carried out successful and targeted airstrikes against a number of hideouts of fuel smuggling, drug, and human trafficking gangs in the western coast,” he said in media statements.

Hammouda added that the operation was “launched on the direct orders by Prime Minister Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba. These were part of a military plan to purge the areas along the west coast, and other sites of trafficking criminals and gangs.”

The spokesman stressed that they “will continue the military operations until all objectives are achieved.”

The Deputy Head of the Council of Elders of Al-Zawiya, Jumaa Al-Jilani confirmed that two people were injured as a result of the drone strikes. The Ambulance and Emergency Service announced that one person was slightly injured, near the Sayeda Zainab area, south of Al-Zawiya.

Earlier today, MP Ali Bouzraiba said that Turkish drones targeted Al-Zawiya, on direct orders by Dbaiba.

Turkey is believed to control a number of military bases in western Libya, most notably the Al-Watiya airbase. Ankara also recruited more than 18,000 Syrian mercenaries, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

In November 2019, Ankara signed a memorandum of understanding on security and military cooperation with Libya’s former Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj.

In 2021, the Turkish Parliament approved a motion to extend the mission of the Turkish troops in Libya for additional 18 months.

Last year, Turkish Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar, stated that the Turkish soldiers and Syrian mercenaries in Libya would remain present to preserve Ankara’s interests.

The UN estimates there are over 20,000 foreign fighters and mercenaries in Libya, helping both sides of the conflict.

The North African country, which is awash with weapons, has been in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The county has for years been split between rival administrations, each backed by rogue militias and foreign governments.

Safety in Libya’s capital, Tripoli is continuously deteriorating, with threats of kidnapping and murder a daily occurrence for residents.

Over the years, kidnappings, arrests, and assassinations have increased substantially in western Libya. This is evident in the repeated statements of the Ministry of Interior, about the arrest of gangs and individuals involved in the kidnapping and extortion of expatriate workers.

Libya ranked fourth in the Arab world, and twenty in the world, among the countries with the highest levels of organized crime, according to the report of the Global Initiative to Combat Crime (GLOBAL INITIATIVE).

In its latest report on Libya, the foundation based its indicators on several factors, most notably human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, crimes related to animal and plant life, human smuggling, and arms trade.

According to the report, Libya ranked last in the world in terms of the degree of resilience against organised crime. This reflects the inability of the state to confront the scourge of crime.