As Turkish drones helped drive eastern Libyan forces back from Tripoli this month, Russia was said to be reinforcing them with warplanes, raising the stakes in a stalemated civil war that has partitioned the country. Recent weeks have marked a turning point in a complex conflict between two uneasy coalitions that are each backed by an array of foreign states whose competing regional agendas make them unwilling to countenance defeat. Eastern commander Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army (LNA) now face the likely failure of their year-long effort to capture Tripoli, seat of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).Backed by the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt with arms, mercenaries and air strikes, according to U.N. experts, Haftar had last summer advanced into Tripoli’s southern suburbs before his offensive stalled. However, aid from Turkey helped turn the tide with air defences and drone strikes that neutralised LNA air power before hammering its ground troops and long supply lines this month.“In the last few weeks, there has been a significant change in balance in Libya,” said a senior Turkish official, crediting Turkish drones and “untrained soldiers” operating LNA air defences. It led, over the past month, to the LNA’s sudden loss of a string of towns near the Tunisian border, a crucial air base, a dozen of its own air defence systems and most of its foothold in Tripoli. With them went Haftar’s hopes of victory. Over the same period, Russian military personnel have delivered some 14 MiG 29 and Su-24 fighter jets to the LNA’s Jufra air base in central Libya, the U.S. military said this week. They are aircraft that could again turn the tide of war. A Russian member of parliament and the LNA have denied the aircraft arrived.