Libyan National Army Resumes Operations In Tripoli

North Africa

Despite a ceasefire in August, heavy fighting around Tripoli continues amidst an ongoing military offensive by Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army against the forces loyal to the Government of National Accord.

The Libyan capital of Tripoli continues to witness heavy fighting despite a ceasefire that came into effect in August and numerous diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis. The military offensive, first launched by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) in April with the intent of quickly capturing the city, has since devolved into a quagmire amidst heavy resistance by the forces loyal to the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). Amidst the constant exchange of territory between the two sides in the city’s southern outskirts, the humanitarian situation has gotten progressively worse.

The most recent developments have taken place around the areas of Ain Zara and Khallat al-Furjan where LNA jets conducted numerous airstrikes on GNA positions. An LNA statement claimed that these strikes targeted GNA operations rooms, as well as a base for GNA drones that have seen growing use in recent weeks. The GNA retaliated by shelling the LNA operations centre in Qasr bin Ghashir while GNA reinforcements have bolstered their positions around Zatarna, east of Tripoli.

It would appear that from its positions in Zatarna, the GNA will seek to attack Tarhouna, an LNA stronghold south-east of Tripoli City and one of the first areas to side with the LNA on the eve of Haftar’s offensive on Tripoli. Indeed, there were reports earlier in the week that the GNA shelled the town which, until recently, was starting to regain a sense of normalcy amidst the heavy fighting nearby. Forces loyal to the GNA were also reported along the roads surrounding the town that are nominally under the control of the LNA, suggesting that the areas held by both sides remain highly fluid. The LNA, for its part, reported that its forces prevented a GNA attack on their positions near the area of Seyd al-Farhad.

The prolonged fighting has significantly impacted what little stability Libya had managed muster since defeating ISIS militants in the country. Neighbouring countries have recently shut down their borders for fear of spillover. In Libya, there are fears that the fighting will go on for much longer.