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Turkish parliament approves Libya troop deployment

Turkey’s parliament on Thursday, January 2 approved a bill to deploy troops to Libya in support of the internationally-recognized government in Tripoli.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had asked for authorization to send Turkish forces to Libya to shore up the Government of National Accord against rogue field marshal Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army.

The bill passed by a vote of 325 to 184, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The LNA launched an assault on the western capital, which is under control of the U.N.-recognized GNA, in April. The conflict has killed more than 1,000 people and displaced more than 120,000 more, according to the World Health Organization.

Erdogan earlier this month suggested Turkey may send troops to aid the GNA to counter Russian paramilitary contractors under the Wagner group reportedly aiding Haftar-aligned militias on the outskirts of Tripoli.

No timeline has been set for the deployment and it is unclear how many forces would be involved. Turkish support is more likely to take the form of advisors to train Libyan soldiers and equipment such as drones, rather than troops, Reuters reported earlier Thursday. Defense minister Hulusi Akar said Tuesday that “needed air defense systems and weapons” could also be provided.

Last week Bloomberg and Middle East Eye cited anonymous Turkish officials as discussing plans to deploy Syrian opposition fighters under Turkey’s military command to join the fight in Tripoli. The reports could not be independently verified by The Defense Post.

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