Forces loyal to the internationally recognized Libyan government have announced on Thursday that they have regained control of the entire capital, Tripoli, in a harsh setback against General Jalifa Haftar, who in April 2019 had launched an offensive to evict them from the city.
“Tripoli has been liberated and fully secured and we have reached the administrative limits of Tarhuna, southeast of the capital,” said the spokesman for the operation ‘Volcán de Fuego’ by government forces, Mustafá al Majei, quoted by the agency Turkish Anatolia.
The spokesman has specified that the Libyan Army has entered the Fam Malgha area, located 90 kilometers from the capital. “The military vehicles of the putsch militia of Jalifa Haftar have been seen retreating from Tarhuna towards the city of Beni Walid,” located 180 kilometers southeast of Tripoli, he said.
The liberation of the capital thus ends the chain of successes achieved in recent weeks by forces supporting the Fayez Serraj government, which has had the support of Turkey in this latest phase of the conflict.
On Wednesday, the spokesman for the unity government forces, Mohamed Gununu, reported that they had seized control of the Tripoli International Airport after several hours of fighting with Haftar’s forces. According to what he said, the general’s forces are in disarray.
The seizure of the Tripoli International Airport – which is not operational and that since 2018 has diverted its flights to Mitiga, located near the capital – occurred on the same day that Serraj traveled to Turkey to meet with the president of this country, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Turkish Presidency has confirmed that Erdogan will meet this Thursday with the Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity. Turkey has been one of the main supporters of the Serraj-led executive, which has given military support on the ground to curb the Haftar offensive.
For its part, the UN announced on Tuesday that the unity government and Haftar had agreed to restart contacts between their military delegations in 5 + 5 format to try to achieve a ceasefire agreement in the country.
The conflict in Libya flared up in April 2019, when the forces led by Haftar launched an offensive to seize Tripoli, the seat of the unity government. The start of Haftar-led military operations came after several years of unsuccessful attempts to achieve a political solution to fragmentation in various administrations after the capture and execution of Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011.
The institutional duplicity goes back to the 2014 parliamentary elections, which divided the administrations, without those settled in the east – previously recognized by the international community – and the unity government, which emerged from an agreement in 2015, managed to agree on their unification since then.
© 2020 Europa Press.