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Tripoli war first anniversary: UAE ramps up military support for Libya’s warlord Haftar

Over the last week, the United Arab Emirates has been ramping up its military support for Khalifa Haftar and his militias in an attempt to keep him going on with his brutal and atrocious offensive on Tripoli as battles enter one year long.

According to flights’ tracking data, the UAE has sent over five military cargo planes, mainly Ilyushin, to Haftar’s militias in both Marj town, where the UAE built a military base called Al-Khadim, and to Benina Airport in Benghazi.

The planes all took off from one location; Abu Dhabi’s Sweihan airbase and they all landed in either Marj town or in Benghazi, both under the control of Haftar’s militias in eastern Libya.

According to sources, the military cargo planes didn’t arrive empty from Abu Dhabi, which is Haftar’s main backer in his war on Tripoli and his previous criminal adventures in eastern Libya, especially in Benghazi and Derna.

The sources added that the arrival of such military backup from the UAE to Haftar could explain the renewed rocket attacks and shelling by Haftar’s militias on civilian neighborhoods in Tripoli, the last of which on Tuesday killed one civilian and injured others in Gergaresh.

Meanwhile, The Guardian reported last month that the United Arab Emirates, which is backing Khalifa Haftar, was thought to have sent more than 100 deliveries by air since mid-January 2020, according to flight-tracking data.

According to the British newspaper, most of the suspect UAE flights leave military bases in the UAE, while some appear to depart from a base run since 2016 by the UAE in Eritrea, where an authoritarian regime is in charge and there is minimal international monitoring.

“The flights are thought to have carried about 5,000 metric tons of cargo into Libya in very large chartered transport planes that land at an airport close to Benghazi, Haftar’s coastal stronghold, or in western Egypt, from where their loads are thought to be trucked into Libya.” The report revealed.

In addition to the support from the UAE and Egypt, Haftar has been backed by Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Russia. Many of the flights stop at Aqaba, the Jordanian port city, the report added.

It is worth mentioning that the UAE is running an airbase in eastern Libya (Al-Khadim Airbase) in which it operates different missions for Khalifa Haftar’s forces, including drone attacks, according to UN and international reports.

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