On 21 May, the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) air force chief, Saqr al-Jaroushi, announced that the LNA will undertake a new aerial campaign in Libya which will consider all Turkish assets as legitimate targets. Jaroushi stated, “You are about to see the largest aerial campaign in Libyan history in the coming hours”. On 23 May, LNA head Khalifa Haftar released an audio message for his forces on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, calling on them to continue to fight against “brutal Turkish colonialism” until the enemy is defeated.
Simultaneously, reports emerged that Russia had transferred six MiG-29 fighters and two Su-24 attack jets to Jufra airbase in central Libya to support the LNA.
The siege by Government of National Accord (GNA) forces on the LNA’s last western stronghold of Tarhouna continued last week. On 20 May, pro-GNA media outlets, including Libya al-Ahrar, claimed that a source from within Tarhouna had stated that the residents had demanded the LNA-aligned forces depart the town but asked them to leave their ammunition, fuel and weapons due to the limited supplies. On 22 May, the GNA’s Volcano of Rage Operation reportedly dropped leaflets on Tarhouna asking local civilians to stay away from the locations of armed groups and stay at home.