UAE, Turkish drones battle it out in Libya skies

Tripoli, Sept 29 (AFP/APP):In Libya, where rival forces are deadlocked south of Tripoli, a months-long battle for the skies between Turkish and UAE drones has failed to break the stalemate, analysts say.

Since April 4, when eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive to capture Tripoli — the capital and seat of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA)– frontlines have moved little.

Faced with a standoff, the two sides have turned to sophisticated weaponry in the hope of gaining an advantage in a battle that has killed over 1,000, injured close to 6,000 and forced 120,000 people from their homes, according to UN figures.

Drones entered the military arena in June, despite a UN arms embargo on Libya in place since the 2011 revolt that overthrew the regime of Moamer Kadhafi.

“Given the intensive use of air assets in the first month of the offensive… most of the combat aircraft of the two air forces are grounded due to a lack of maintenance,” said defence analyst Arnaud Delalande.

“Not wanting to be left without air power, Haftar and the GNA seem to have turned urgently towards another type of craft: drones,” he told AFP.

At the end of July, UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame expressed concern about the widening “geographical scope of violence” with the increased use of air strikes.

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