The suffering of refugees intensifies as Tripoli clashes rage on

North Africa

The International Organization for Migration claims that around 40,000 Libyans have been displaced as a result of the recent clashes in the Tripoli area.

The military clashes in Tripoli, which began at the start of April with the offensive launched by Libya National Army (LNA) leader Khalifa Haftar, have persisted at the end of the month, causing continued displacement of non-combatant civilians. Rockets and mortar shells continue to fall down on the Libyan capital as the LNA clash with the forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA), which has been in control of Tripoli since 2016.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has announced that an estimated 1.1 million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. It also stated that more than 12,500 displaced Libyans and refugees were receiving humanitarian aid in 2019, while thousands remained in desperate need of aid.

The humanitarian situation has deteriorated since the LNA offensive on the city as Tripoli is experiencing severe water and power shortages, significant factors affecting the displacement of local residents. Some of the displaced people have described how they have been shot at indiscriminately by combatants.

The UNHCR has announced that it is working to reduce the aggravation of the crisis. It has called for alternatives to refugee detention centres, the expansion of resettlement and humanitarian evacuation programs, the introduction of the option to return home and for continued humanitarian assistance to refugees and displaced persons.

Moreover, local supporters of each side are engaging in street battles as whole neighbourhoods in Tripoli are being turned into battlefields.

The majority of military clashes are concentrated in the south of the city, where the LNA is focusing its advance. Despite initial progress by the LNA, the GNA-affiliated forces have pushed their adversaries back and held their ground for now.

Several international organisations and states have condemned the LNA offensive on Tripoli for the negative consequences it has had on civilians’ lives and the political process of reconciliation between the warring parties in Libya.