File picture shows tanks amid destroyed buildings in Sirte, Libya. Image Credit: AP

Abu Dhabi: Turkey, through its Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, announced yesterday the completion of preparations for a major military operation in the Libyan city of Sirte. It stressed that the ceasefire is currently “not in the interest of” the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by Faiz Al Sarraj, which Ankara backs.

But a prominent military official in the Libyan National Army led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar told Asharq Al Awsat,that the response to these statements will be in the field, threatening those whom he described as fighters of the GNA militia, Turkish invaders and mercenaries loyal to Ankara with a heavy defeat, as he confirmed the readiness of the Libyan National Army forces to deter any aggression.

While confirming the acceleration of preparations for the anticipated battle, Brigadier Ibrahim Bait Al-Mal, the commander of the Sirte and Al Jufrah operations room in GNA forces announced that he had held an extra-ordinary meeting on Sunday evening with the commanders of the Operation Paths of Victory to find out the field developments in the area between Sirte and Al Jufrah, and what has been monitored of the deployment and intense movements of the LNA forces.

A spokesman for the US Forces in Africa (AFRICOM) command declined to comment on the possibility of a military confrontation in Libya, but he told Asharq Al Awsat that “there is no lasting military solution to the Libyan conflict”. He stressed that achieving peace “must be done through the political process.”