Turkey may train Libyan soldiers rather than deploy troops for now

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TURKISH CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF HULUSI AKAR VISITING MILITARY BORDER UNITS IN SOUTHERN HATAY PROVINCE

Turkish lawmakers are set to back a bill on Thursday that allows troop deployment in Tripoli, but that is likely to begin with military support, training and drones in the air rather than boots on the ground.

Turkish Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar visiting military border units in Southern Hatay province./Picture Grab from Reuters video.

President Tayyip Erdogan, whose ruling party’s alliance has a majority but faces opposition to the plan in parliament, said last week Turkey would deploy troops in Libya to support Fayez al-Serraj’s internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

The GNA has requested Turkish support as it fights off an offensive by General Khalifa Haftar’s forces in the country’s east that is backed by Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Jordan.

Analysts and officials say Ankara is unlikely to immediately send troops, but rather military advisers and equipment.

A senior Turkish official said last week Turkey may train Libyan soldiers in Turkey, and Reuters reported that Ankara is also considering sending allied Syrian fighters to Tripoli as part of the planned military support.

On Wednesday, Vice President Fuat Oktay said the bill served a symbolic role that Ankara hoped would be a “deterrent” to the parties, and that Turkey may not send troops if Haftar’s forces halted their offensive and pulled bac

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