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Libyan interior minister says will ask for Turkish support if Tripoli war escalates

FILE PHOTO: Interior Minister Fathi Ali Bashagha (C) speaks during a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Mohamed Taher Siala in Tripoli, Libya December 25, 2018. REUTERS/Hani Amara/File Photo

TUNIS (Reuters) - Libya’s internationally recognised government will officially request military support from Turkey if the war over the capital escalates, the Tripoli-based interior minister said on Thursday.

Eastern forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar have been trying to take Tripoli since April. Earlier on Thursday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara would send troops to Libya as soon as next month as it had received a request from Tripoli.

“If the situation escalates then we have the right to defend Tripoli and its residents,” Fathi Bashagha told reporters in Tunis.

Reporting by Ulf Laessing, Ahmed Tolba and Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Gareth Jones