US-based military expert website, The Drive – The War Zone – has revealed that a video of Russian-supplied Su-24 Fencer combat jets operating in Libya has emerged online on Khalifa Haftar’s own media platform, thus scandalizing his real intention of continuing military reinforcements as political and military dialogues are going on to resolve the conflict.
The Drive says the clip was posted by the Information Office of the so-called “General Command of the Libyan Armed Forces, also known as the Libyan National Army, or LNA” (Haftar’s militias).
Haftar’s Show-off Backfires
The clip showing the Su-24s is part of a longer video showing a live-fire exercise in the Libyan desert by pro-Haftar 106th Armored Brigade, according to the report, which also said that the pair of Su-24s is seen releasing infrared decoy flares as they fly low along the coastline.
The Drive adds that the video description says that the maneuvers done by Haftar’s militias involved “airstrikes by warplanes,” yet the Su-24s are not seen in the video carrying or dropping any weapons.
“Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunships are seen firing rockets as they accompany advancing tanks and other light vehicles.” The report indicated, adding that Su-24s are seen in the video wearing the typical gray and white Russian Aerospace Forces colors, rather than the camouflage that was applied to six of them that were delivered to Libya in 1989, or those sold to Syria.
“The only markings visible on the jets in the video, seen below, appear to be Libyan ones. It’s unclear how many Su-24s the LNA has operational now. AFRICOM has assessed that at least two of the MiG-29s have been lost in crashes.” The report remarked.
Wagner Mercenaries Flying Haftar’s Jets
As for who was flying these jets in the new Haftar militias’ video, the US government has consistently maintained that all of the Russian-supplied aircraft, both MiGs and Sukhois, are being operated by Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group.
“Russian Wagner Group is at least closely tied to Russia’s Main Directorate military intelligence agency.” The report explained.
Possible Return to Fighting
In October, the GNA and Haftar’s militias agreed to a new ceasefire and have been conducting negotiations on a potential end to the conflict ever since. Earlier this month, both sides agreed on Dec. 24, 2021, as the date for a future national election.
However, The Drive website said that while no one knows the exact operational state of the Haftar’s fleet of Russian-supplied combat jets, this new video footage shows that at least two Su-24s are still airworthy and that the group has significant other military assets that it could throw back into battle against the GNA if the current peace talks were to fail