The forces affiliated with Libya's internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) announced that they repelled an attack by Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) in Khalla, southern Tripoli, as the battle to control the Libyan capital enters its ninth month.
The Libyan capital, Tripoli, continues to witness heavy fighting more than nine months after Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an offensive against the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), and one month after the LNA announced the launch of the final phase of the offensive. Although the LNA has made a number of gains around Tripoli over the past month, militias affiliated with the GNA have been successful in reversing numerous gains, with the most recent such development taking place in Khalla, southern Tripoli.
According to the GNA, its counter-terrorism units were able to repel the LNA offensive around Khalla, although three of its fighters were killed during the fighting. The GNA also reported that an LNA offensive was repelled around the Yarmouk District. Heavy fighting was also reported in the Ain Zara and Twesha areas south of the capital. Outside Khalla and the other immediate front-lines, shelling continued. However, despite shelling getting ever-closer, the Mitiga Airport, which had been shut down recently, is preparing to reopen.
In general, the LNA appears undaunted by these reversals. Khaled al-Mahjoub, the Chief Morale Officer of the LNA, announced that LNA tanks continue to make gains in southern Tripoli and that the LNA’s elite forces are moving on to cut GNA supply lines. Meanwhile, the head of the LNA, Khalifa Haftar, also visited the front-lines, promising victory to his soldiers. However, the GNA’s Chairman, Fayez al-Sarraj, described Haftar’s proclamations as “delusions”.
Despite the gains made by the LNA, the outcome of the battle is far from certain. Although Haftar has been able to secure the acquisition of new hardware that the recent LNA gains are credited to, developments such as those seen in Khalla suggest that the GNA still retains the ability to counterattack. Furthermore, whichever side wins this battle will need to contend with bringing peace to a devastated and divided Libya.