Hafter Forces Dealt Setback With Loss of West Libya Towns

Govt forces announce key gains

Libya’s Khalifa Hafter and his self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) have been on the fringe of Tripoli for months, but seem to be suffering some substantial losses in western Libya with reports from the Government of National Accord (GNA) that they’d seized the key town of Sabrata and nearby Sorman. Later they claimed the third town of Ajaylat.

Sabrata is a coastal town and an historic part of “the Roman Tripolis.” along with Sorman it covers the main Western highway into the capital, where the GNA still controls most of the city, and is trying to shake off a protracted siege.

It’s not clear if this a decisive change of control, or just a temporary battle over the area, but it could reverse some of Hafter’s hold on the area, and potentially force him to rethink the plan of keeping large numbers of troops parked in suburban Tripoli.

The LNA tried and failed to capture Tripoli around a year ago, and has retained a substantial position every since, while trying to surround the area, and take the limited other GNA possessions. With most foreign backing on Hafter’s side, there had long been a sense that victory was, if not inevitable, at least very probable.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.