Putschist commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces threatened to attack Turkish targets in Libya after receiving eight military planes following heavy losses as a result of a series of successful operations by the Libyan army.
“In the next few hours, you will witness the largest aerial campaign in Libya’s history,” Haftar’s air force chief Saqr al-Joroushi said Thursday, adding that all Turkish targets are “legitimate targets” for their fighter jets.
Also on Thursday, the Libyan Interior Ministry confirmed that Russia sent eight fighter jets to the Haftar militia.
Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha told Bloomberg channel that at least six MiG-29 and Su-24 type Soviet-made jets took off from Hmeimeem air base in Syria and were delivered to Haftar’s forces in Libya.
Russian authorities have not made a statement regarding the issue.
Meanwhile, the Libyan army on Wednesday destroyed five Russian-made Pantsir-type air defense systems supplied to Haftar by the United Arab Emirates in the last 24 hours. Earlier this week it also recaptured the key Al-Watiya air base from Haftar militias.
Haftar, the leader of illegal armed forces in eastern Libya, who has targeted the government for over a year now, intensified attacks on civilians in May. This is because of the Libyan army's recent successes against the militants.
As a result, some cities and towns in the west had announced their support to the Libyan government.
Following the ouster of late ruler Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, Libya's government was founded in 2015 under a U.N.-led political deal.