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Photo: Turkish Presidency/Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Turkey's parliament has voted to deploy troops to Libya in support of the UN-recognized government, deepening its role in a proxy war that's also pulled in Russia and other regional powers, Bloomberg reports.

The state of play: Turkey is supporting efforts by Libya's UN-recognized government to block an offensive on the capital, Tripoli, by rebel commander Khalifa Haftar. Haftar is backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and mercenaries from Russia's Wagner Group.

Turkey previously provided weapons, including armed drones, to the government in Tripoli. Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a televised address that Turkish troops would be engaged not in combat but "technical support and military training."

  • He also said Turkey would not be fighting against Russia in Libya. Libya's interior minister told Axios in November that the Russian mercenaries had dramatically shifted the nature of the fighting.
  • Libya has been in disarray since dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.
  • Egypt has condemned Turkey's decision. In a phone call on Thursday, President Trump warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that "foreign interference is complicating the situation in Libya," according to a White House readout.

The big picture: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's decision to go into Libya comes months after his military incursion into Syria — an example of "Turkey's growing self-confidence as a regional power," the New York Times reports. Erdoğan's foreign policy has helped him maintain his support at home as well.

Go deeper: Russia now on front lines of Libya's "proxy war," interior minister says

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
11 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.