Forces belonging to the East Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar have begun an offensive into Western Libya and have set their sights on Tripoli (Reuters 1). A skirmish erupted to the south of Tripoli between Haftar’s LNA (Libyan National Army) and forces allied with the internationally-recognized government in Tripoli (al-Jazeera). An LNA spokesman said the operation is meant to “liberate the homeland from terrorism”, and claims capturing Tripoli is an important symbolic objective (Reuters 2). On a video published Thursday and titled “operation to liberate Tripoli”, commander Haftar ordered his troops to capture Tripoli (Reuters 3).
U.N. secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited Libya on Wednesday and expressed his concern for the possible fight for the capital (AP). Guterres further claimed that Libya’s divide cannot be solved with violence and only dialog will bring an end to the fighting (AP). This is the closest Haftar has ever been to Tripoli, since he began his campaign in 2014 battling Islamist groups and militias in East Libya (AP). Haftar and his L.N.A. are backed by Egypt and the U.A.E., which see him as a force against extremist groups in Libya (AP).
Tags: Libya, LNA, Khalifa Haftar, Tripoli, Antonio Guterres, Libyan National Army