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Libyan army's retake of Al-Watiya on world media20 May 2020

Libyan army announced that they are fully in control of strategic airbase

News outlets around the world widely covered the Libyan army taking control of the key military Al-Watiya airbase.

On Monday morning, the Libyan army announced that they were fully in control of Al-Watiya airbase after forces loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar fled the base.

The international media allocated a wide coverage to this development.

The Guardian covered the news with the headline: “UN-backed Libyan forces take key airbase from rebel general.”

“Loss of al-Watiya airbase south of Tripoli deals major blow to renegade general Khalifa Haftar,” the newspaper reported.

The Independent reported: “‘A game-changer in every sense’: Libya warlord Khalifa Haftar loses key airbase to forces allied with Turkey.”

The story by Borzou Daragahi said “forces loyal to the internationally recognised government in Libya, backed by Turkey, seized control of strategic airbase.”

The Middle East Eye website reported that Libyan forces captured a Russian-made Pantsir air defense system mounted on a truck at the base.

“A separate video circulating online and in Turkey's media purported to show a Turkish drone, which support the GNA [Libyan government] from the air, targeting a Pantsir system as it was being transported by road in the early hours of Monday,” the website reported.

The Libyan army announced Monday that it regained the control of the strategically important Al-Watiya airbase, which had been under Haftar’s control for about six years and was used for multiple operations.

The government has been under attack by Haftar's forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence. It launched Operation Peace Storm on March 26 to counter attacks on the capital.

Following the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya's government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led political deal.

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