Forces aligned with Libya’s internationally recognised authorities have retaken three navy bases from eastern-based navy commander Khalifa Haftar‘s Libyan National Army (LNA) south of the capital Tripoli.
In a press release on Saturday, navy spokesman Mohamed Gnunu mentioned troops loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) overran the Yarmouk, al-Sawarikh and Hamza camps.
“Our heroic forces are chasing the remnants of Haftar’s terrorist militia and are continuing their progress,” Gnunu mentioned on his Twitter account, with out elaborating.
With Turkish assist, the GNA has seized a string of cities in latest weeks, captured a strategic airbase, and destroyed a number of of the LNA’s Russian-made air defence techniques.
In a two-minute audio speech addressed to his forces on Saturday, Haftar mentioned they “will fight and fight” in opposition to what he known as “Turkish colonialism”.
“To our brave officers and soldiers, you are fighting a holy war that is open to all fronts, a comprehensive war in which there is nothing but victory,” Haftar mentioned within the speech.
Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed, reporting from Tripoli, mentioned the GNA’s beneficial properties had been a serious setback for Haftar.
“Al-Yarmouk military camp had been set by the LNA as some kind of central command to run the battles in southern Tripoli,” he mentioned.
“The base was controlled by Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group … The government has told displaced civilians not to return to their homes because LNA forces have set up land mines in civilian areas in the same way ISIL set up IEDs in the city of Sirte in 2016.”
Saturday’s announcement comes days after Ahmad al-Mesmari, a spokesman for Haftar’s forces, mentioned his fighters would pull again from some positions south of Tripoli.
The withdrawal, he mentioned, was a part of a “redeployment”.
Making beneficial properties
Fighting has just lately escalated between Libya’s warring sides regardless of worldwide requires a humanitarian truce within the nation to focus efforts on battling an outbreak of the brand new coronavirus.
Libya’s UN-recognised authorities retakes key airbase
Earlier this week, GNA forces seized al-Watiya airbase, near theTunisian border, a strategic base in Haftar’s offensive to seize Tripoli.
US President Donald Trump known as for a “rapid de-escalation” of the Libyan battle on a name with Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday.
The GNA’s surge has put strain Haftar’s 13-month marketing campaign to grab the capital Tripoli and has squeezed his overseas backers Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
White House spokesman Judd Deere mentioned in a press release: “President Trump reiterated concern over worsening foreign interference in Libya and the need for rapid de-escalation.”
As the LNA has promised to reply with an enormous air marketing campaign, diplomats have warned of the chance of a brand new spherical of escalation with the warring sides’ exterior backers pouring in new weaponry.
Turkey “will not bow to threats by Haftar or anyone else”, Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin mentioned individually in an interview on NTV.
“The international community must take a stand against Haftar. We need to go back to the table for a political solution as soon as possible,” Kalin mentioned.
The year-long battle for Tripoli has left a whole lot lifeless, together with dozens of civilians, and displaced greater than 200,000 folks.
Since 2014, Libya has been cut up between rival factions based mostly in Tripoli and within the east, in a generally chaotic conflict that has drawn in exterior powers and a flood of overseas arms and mercenaries.
Haftar’s LNA has been unable to make important progress since early on in its marketing campaign.
But it nonetheless controls jap and southern Libya, together with many of the nation’s oil amenities, and town of Sirte, on the centre of Libya’s Mediterranean shoreline.
Turkey, which has had frayed ties with the UAE and Egypt for years, has accused Abu Dhabi of bringing chaos to the area via its interventions in Libya and Yemen, and has known as on Russia to halt its assist for Haftar.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and information companies