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Turkish president says Haftar’s forces ‘regressing’ in Libya conflict: report

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Turkey’s president said Monday that Libya’s eastern-based forces have entered a “regression” phase in the conflict with the UN-supported government in Tripoli, following a series of setbacks, The Associated Press reported.

Turkey heavily backs, including with military aid, the Tripoli government against eastern-based Libyan forces led by commander Khalifa Haftar.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed continued support for the UN=backed government in Libya, speaking after a Cabinet meeting.

“The pro-coup Haftar has entered a period of regression,” Erdogan said. “The efforts of the countries that have provided him with endless financial support and weapons will not be enough to save him.”

Haftar’s forces are backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia. For months his forces, bolstered by shipments of powerful missiles, jets and drones, held an advantage over the coalition of fractious militias while besieging the government in Tripoli. But Turkey’s escalating military support for its Libyan allies has shifted momentum of the conflict.

Western Libyan forces have thwarted Haftar’s advances, recaptured coastal cities near the Tunisian border, attacked Haftar’s key western airbase and tightened their siege on his stronghold of Tarhuna.

Last week, the UN-supported government rejected a unilateral cease-fire declared by Haftar’s forces for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, citing the collapse of past agreements.

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