Libyan warlord frees six Turkish sailors

A Libyan warlord freed six Turkish sailors Monday after Ankara threatened to take military action against them.

Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s forces released six Turkish sailors Monday after Ankara threatened to use military force against them.

The sailors were captured by insurgent Gen. Khalifa Haftar but the circumstances of how they were captured were unclear. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said Monday the sailors returned to their ship but did not elaborate.

Before they were freed, Turkish officials said Haftar and his army “will become legitimate targets” if citizens aren’t freed.

Haftar, who is allied with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, said Turkey provided drones and other weapons to the United Nations-backed government in Tripoli, which has resisted attempts by him to capture the capital.

On Friday, Haftar’s forces issued a ban on commercial flights from Libya to Turkey and threatened to attack any Turkish ships and interests in Libya. The Turkish Embassy in Tripoli advised citizens living in areas controlled by Haftar to avoid steps that will jeopardize their safety.

ByNicholas Sakelaris