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Turkish military forces arrive in Libya gradually, Erdogan says

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 20, 2016. (Dennis van Tine/Abaca Press/TNS)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said troops are arriving in Libya after parliament authorized the government to back Libya’s internationally recognized administration against rival forces.

“The mission of our troops will be coordination and establishing an operation center,” Erdogan told CNNTurk television in an interview on Sunday. Turkish forces in Libya will be led by a lieutenant general, he added.

The parliament on Thursday voted 325-184 to give Erdogan one year to dispatch troops at the request of Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

Sarraj’s Tripoli-based government is fighting forces aligned with commander Khalifa Haftar, which are backed by Russian mercenaries, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Turkey’s involvement could complicate international efforts to end the divisions that have roiled the country since the overthrow of strongman Moammar Qaddafi in 2011.

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