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Haftar supporters protest Turkey’s meddling in Libyan conflict

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Thousands of supporters of Gen. Khalifa Haftar demonstrated in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Sunday against what they claim is Turkish interference in the country’s domestic affairs, the Chinese CGTN news outlet reported.

Turkey has sent mercenaries and weapons to the country’s internationally recognized government in Tripoli.

The protesters carried banners bearing pictures and slogans attacking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Libyan ally Fayez al-Sarraj, prime minister of the UN-backed government.

“We are against the Turkish conquest, and against the Government of National Accord in Tripoli, and, God willing, we will be victorious, thanks to the vigor of our youth, may God preserve them and protect them,” said a protester, Mona Al-Farsi.

They also carried signs in support of the eastern-based Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) and its leadership.

Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when a civil war toppled long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who was later killed.

The country has been divided between two rival governments since 2015 – one in the east, allied with Haftar, and the UN-supported government in Tripoli.

Haftar’s forces are backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia, while the Tripoli-allied militias are aided by Qatar, Italy and Turkey.

Many of these foreign backers are apparently jockeying for influence in order to control Libya’s oil resources, the largest in Africa.

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