Fighting Rages in Libyan Capital as Hafter Forces Try to Enter City’s South

Airstrikes reported near Tripoli as pro-govt forces try to slow offensive

An offensive by the Libyan National Army (LNA) that began on Thursday has the group having successfully entered the southern outskirts of the capital city of Tripoli. Fighting has been reported at several stages, and the forces of the “unity government” claimed to have launched airstrikes against LNA forces this weekend.

The LNA forces are run by Gen. Khalifa Hafter, who now styles himself as a “field marshal.” It is the latest of several attempts by Hafter, a former Gadhafi-era general turned CIA-funded rebel, to seize meaningful power in the country’s capital.

While the unity government is nominally backed by the US and the UN, their ability to project military power outside of Tripoli has long been questioned. The LNA now claims to have control over the airport in the south, and looks to be challenging them even further.

While the UN ideally wants to get talks started, their immediate concern is a brief truce in southern Tripoli just to allow both sides to evacuate the wounded from fighting. The casualty figures are undisclosed so far, but believed to be substantial.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.