The Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar has announced the beginning of the second phase of its operation to liberate the city of Derna from the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council.
The Libyan National Army (LNA) has initiated the second and final stage of its military operation to re-capture the eastern city of Derna from the militant group the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council.
Derna is the last city in eastern Libya that is not yet under the control of the LNA, which is the army of Libya’s eastern House of Representatives Government.
Last week, the LNA announced that it has now captured 75% of Derna from the militant group, one month after military operations began in the city.
“In these critical moments of our long and honourable struggle against terrorism, we announce the launch of the second phase of the liberation of the city of Derna,” said Khalifa Haftar, head of the LNA. “This holy month [of Ramadan] will be a month of victory, conquests, good and blessings. It is good news to all honourable Libyans that the hour of victory and liberation is approaching.”
According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the battle for Derna has caused a major humanitarian crisis for the city’s civilian population, who have been caught in the crossfire. The IOM and the United Nations (UN) both raised concerns over the unprecedented levels of violence that has been used during intense clashes between the LNA and the militants.
Moreover, according to the UN, no aid has been delivered to Derna since mid-March, leading to an acute food, water and medical supplies shortage.
In May, Haftar met with the leaders of Libya’s Tripoli-based government, the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), in Paris to attempt to broker a peace deal and political solution to Libya’s seven year conflict. Following the conference, the rival governments announced their commitment to holding free elections by the end of the year. It is hoped that the elections will bring Libya one step closer to peace.