Fighting in Tripoli leaves 121 dead and hundreds more injured

Libya Civil War

Fighting in Tripoli has caused the deaths of at least 121 people were killed in ten days, but the positions of the two rival Libyan camps on the front seem to have been stuck in a status quo.

The fierce fighting between the forces of Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the strongman of eastern Libya and those of the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli since April 4 have also injured 561, according to a new record of the World Health Organization (WHO), which did not specify the number of civilians among these victims.

The Libyan National Army (ANL), self-proclaimed by Marshal Haftar, launched an offensive ten days ago to seize the capital (north-west), headquarters of Fayez al-Sarraj, recognized by the International community.

While his forces still can not enter the capital, Marshal Haftar went to Cairo to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, one of his most fervent supporters. They discussed “the latest developments in Libya,” according to Egyptian state media that did not give further details. In addition to Egypt, the ANL has also benefited from direct or indirect support from other countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, France or Russia.

In Tripoli, the GNA forces announced they had “shot down” a fighter plane from their rivals, south of the capital. An ANL source confirmed the loss of a Mig 23, but attributed it to a “technical failure”. The ANL added that the pilot was able to eject with his parachute and that he was “safe and sound”.

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The ANG and ANL forces continue to proclaim “progress”, but in fact neither of them seems to have taken the upper hand. The fighting takes place on the same front lines, particularly in the localities of Ain Zara and al-Swani, south of Tripoli.

13,500 displaced

The WHO office also condemned on its Twitter account “the repeated attacks against the nursing staff”. Two ambulances were targeted on Saturday, bringing to eight the number of medical personnel vehicles affected since the fighting began.

In a country plunged into chaos since the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, international organizations fear that civilians will once again bear the brunt of the violence. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported 13,500 people displaced by the fighting.

On Sunday, the UN mission in Libya (Manul) recalled that “international humanitarian law strictly prohibits the bombing of schools, hospitals, ambulances and civilian areas”. “The mission monitors and documents all acts of war in violation of this law in order to inform the Security Council and the International Criminal Court”.

The warning was issued following an air raid by the GNA to the ANL forces that hit a school in Ain Zara, south of Tripoli. The ANL, for its part, accused the forces of the GNA of conducting an air raid, which “targeted civilians” in the region of Gasr Ben Ghachir, about thirty kilometers south of Tripoli.

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Between Friday and Saturday, the GNA forces conducted 21 airstrikes on ANL “military positions” and its supply lines, according to their spokesman, Colonel Gnounou. A new GNA spokesman, Mohanad Younes, has announced that the forces loyal to this executive are preparing to move from the “defensive phase to the offensive.”

Terrorist Elements

The ANL retorted in the evening of Saturday that it “advanced on all fronts”. Its spokesman, General Ahmad Al-Mesmari, also reported again on “terrorists” and “criminals” fighting alongside the forces of the GNA.

In a statement calling for an end to the fighting and the withdrawal of the ANL from the outskirts of the capital, the European Union on Thursday expressed its “concern over the participation of terrorist and criminal elements in the fighting, including those listed by the UN Security Council “.

Sarraj denounced Saturday night a “misinformation campaign by some parties, that his forces have fighters belonging to terrorist organizations and groups.

Taking advantage of the chaos in this oil-rich country, extremist organizations like the Islamic State (IS) group had established themselves in some cities before being driven out by the forces of the GNA or the ANL, but they remain active in the vast Libyan desert and still have dormant cells in the cities.

Eric Thomas

Eric, originally from Nigeria, currently resides in Florida and covers a wide range of topics for The talking Democrat.