17 June – 23 June: LNA declares no-fly zone

Jun 24, 2020 | Libyan actors

On 21 June, the Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesperson Ahmed al-Mismari said that the LNA had declared a no-fly zone in an area stretching 200km from the al-Sultan settlement east of Sirte until the al-Heesa village in the west. Mismari said that all aviation in this area, expect for LNA aircraft, are prohibited.  This came after LNA’s Dignity Operations Room commander, Saqr al-Jaroushi, declared the area extending from Wadi Jarif to al-Weshka as a military exclusion zone. Mismari also welcomed Egypt’s 20 June announcement threatening military intervention in Libya if the Turkey- Government of National Accord (GNA) forces push on Sirte, saying Cairo was acting in the interests of national security.

On 20 June, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi warned Turkey-GNA-aligned forces not to push beyond the current Sirte-Jufra frontlines, claiming “this is a red line for us”, and called for a return to talks. The same day, Turkish presidential spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, stated that the LNA must withdraw from Sirte in order for a ceasefire to be facilitated. Kalin stated that a ceasefire would only be possible if the LNA returned to the positions held in 2015, which would require them to remove troops from Sirte and Jufra. As for the Sirte frontlines, both the GNA and LNA coalition forces have continued to deploy reinforcements and build up forces and assets, to the west of Sirte and in the city itself respectively. However, at the time of writing there had been little active military engagement between the forces for the last week.