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The New Arab Staff

Russian plane brings more Syrian fighters to Libya's Sirte despite ceasefire

GNA forces reported a Russian cargo plane flying into Ghardabiya [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 October, 2020

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Haftar's key backer Russia has been flying in Syrian fighters to Libya's Sirte, sparking fears that he may launch an offensive on the port city despite the fragile ceasefire
A Russian cargo plane flew in a number of Syrian soldiers to Libya's Sirte province on Saturday, sparking fears that warlord Khalifa Haftar is planning to break the fragile ceasefire.

The plane landed at Ghardabiya air base, under the control of Haftar's forces, at 11 a.m. local time, according to reports from the rival army of the UN-backed Government of Naitonal Accord (GNA).

Despite a truce announced on 21 August, GNA forces have reported several violations of the peace by militias allied to Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA).

Haftar has enjoyed support from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Syrian regime and Russia, which according to US officials has sent in mercenaries and a flood of weapons.

Read also: An open letter to my motherland, Libya

Many have been anticipating an LNA offensive on the port city of Sirte following reports that Haftar had been gathering troops and ammunition at nearby strategic positions, in spite of the ceasefire.

The two warring parties had been battling for Sirte, the gateway to the country’s major oil export terminals and east, for months before the stop in fighting.

The two sides are still engaged in peace negotiations in a bid to end almost decade-long chaos and violence that followed the NATO-backed uprising which toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi in 2011.



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