Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Sunday that Turkish military units are on their way to Libya to support Fayez al-Serraj’s Government of National Accord in Tripoli.
The Turkish president told CNN Turk that the country was also sending senior military personnel to the country to back up the internationally-recognized government, Reuters reported.
The U.S. embassy in Libya released a statement criticizing Turkey for sending Syrian fighters to Libya, calling it “toxic foreign interference.”
“This deterioration in security underscores the dangers of toxic foreign interference in Libya, such as the arrival of Syrian fighters supported by Turkey as well as the deployment of Russian mercenaries,” the statement reads. “All Libyan parties have a responsibility to end this dangerous involvement of foreign forces, which is contributing to civilian casualties and damaging civilian infrastructure to the detriment of all Libyans.”
The embassy said it will support Libyan moves to end the violence, stop foreign interference and start U.N.-aided discussions, “which is the only path to lasting peace and prosperity.”
The statement also denounced the “military escalation” that has led to dozens of deaths and injuries in Tripoli in recent days.
President Trump spoke to Erdoğan last week after Turkey passed a bill permitting troops to be sent to Libya. Trump conveyed his concerns about foreign interference in the increasingly complicated situation.
Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army has been fighting the Libyan government, with the support of Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and reportedly Russian mercenaries, which worries U.S. officials.
He also talked with the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi last month about Libya’s conflict, with a White House statement saying “the leaders rejected foreign exploitation and agreed that parties must take urgent steps to resolve the conflict before Libyans lose control to foreign actors.”