Conflict

Libya: A full timeline of the battle for Tripoli

North Africa

The Libyan National Army launched its offensive on Tripoli in April. The conflict over the capital is still continuing.

In April this year, the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar began a military operation to capture the capital Tripoli from the groups of armed militias currently controlling it with the support of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). Haftar, who commands the LNA from its eastern base of Benghazi, ordered his forces to advance towards Tripoli after capturing nearby Gharyan, a town 100km to the south, signifying an escalation in the years-long power struggle in Libya.

The battle of Tripoli began after the LNA gained control of the south of the country and entered the city of Sabha, the largest cities in the region, as well as the nearby el-Sharara oilfield. Since entering Tripoli, the LNA has been targeting armed groups affiliated with the GNA, led by Fayez al-Sarraj, most notably the First Security Division, the Deterrent Force, and the Abu Salim Battalion. 

In mid-July, leaders of the LNA announced the “completion” of the first phase of military operations, which focused on the depletion of armed militias. The commanders said that the army was in the process of launching the last phase of liberating the capital, which entails entering the heart of Tripoli.

The oil-rich country, which has been in turmoil since the removal of its long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, has two principal administrations rivaling for power: the internationally recognised GNA based in Tripoli, and the House of Representatives based in the eastern city of Tobruk, which is aligned with Haftar.

According to the estimates from the World Heath Organisation, 1,048 people have now been killed in Tripoli since the battle for control of the capital started three months ago. Another 5,558 people have been injured.

Last Tuesday, the United Nations Envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, met with the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, to discuss the ongoing violence in the city. During the meeting, both figures highlighted the need to halt the clashes and renew efforts towards “a unified roadmap for reuniting the Libyans and helping them to agree and reconcile”.