The European Union is planning an extension of its military operation against human traffickers, known as Sophia, which could eventually include sending ground troops to war-torn Libya. According to a confidential document shared with VICE Alps and with Wikileaks by a highly-placed source in a EU member nation, who requested anonymity, the Sophia mission is ready to move into Libyan territorial waters to stop people smugglers there, but it will not do so until it is invited by Libyan authorities (…) The report by rear admiral Enrico Credendino, dated January 29, explains that the mission has been since last October in phase 2A, using 16 ships and aircraft from various EU nations to stop smugglers in international waters. Credendino calls that mission a success, saying his force has arrested 46 smugglers and destroyed 67 boats. People on the boats are rescued and taken to refugee centers generally located in Italy. 46 smugglers in custody may not seem like a large number in a crisis that has brought almost a million people to Europe last year, but according to the report, the Sophia operation has had a profound effect. Smugglers now choose to transport most people towards the European Union from the east through Greece instead of Libya, where Sophia is focused.
Alberto Riva in Leaked Document Indicates There May Soon Be EU Military Involvement in Libya (Vice)