Libyan forces with the Turkey-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) are gaining the upper hand in the fight against the Libyan National Army (LNA) forces controlled by General Khalifa Haftar. They have pushed the LNA back from Tripoli, captured the 350 km supply line used by Haftar’s militias, and gained control of the al-Watiyah airbase.

The Turkish-backed troops also accomplished a significant intelligence achievement, capturing an advanced Russian-made Pantsir-S1 air defense system at al-Watiyah airbase. However, despite the recent influx of advanced Russian aircraft introduced into the country to support Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group and Haftar’s forces, this particular antiaircraft system was supplied to Haftar’s forces by the United Arab Emirates, not by the Russian government. 

Haftar’s forces are backed by Russia, UAE, and Egypt, while the Libyan government forces fighting for the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is recognized by the United Nations, are supported by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and others.

The airbase at al-Watiyah was constructed by the United State back during World War II and has remained one of the most important airbases in the country. Haftar’s forces had controlled the airbase for nearly six years; it had been a scene of fighting between the two sides.