LNA captures strategic sites entering Tripoli outskirts

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 - 11:10 GMT

Smoke rises near buildings after heavy fighting between rival militias broke out near the airport in Tripoli July 13, 2014. REUTERS/ Hani Amara

Smoke rises near buildings after heavy fighting between rival militias broke out near the airport in Tripoli July 13, 2014. REUTERS/ Hani Amara

CAIRO - 28 December 2019: Spokesperson of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Ahmed al-Mesmary revealed to Extra News on Saturday the progress achieved to free the Libyan capital from militias commanded by the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is an interim government that is not elected but backed by the United Nations.

The major general declared that many Turkish armored vehicles and drones were destroyed and that naval operations are underway to cut off Turkish reinforcements to Tripoli militias.

Mesmary added that the LNA wiped out several militias camps, and took over the headquarters of the military command located on the road of Mitiga airport as well as other strategic sites and camps in Salah El Din district.

The spokesperson clarified that the LNA pursues a strategy for exhausting the militias before beginning the last phase of the Tripoli battle. Mesmary revealed that Tripoli militias have vastly retreated from front lines and that the LNA will not end the battle unless it captures the capital.

Earlier on Saturday, the Libyan Air Force had struck targets controlled by the militias 45 kilometers away from Tripoli, including the camps of Al Farouq battalions. The LNA announced on Friday capturing Al Zohour neighborhood in Salah El Din district.

The War Information Division of the LNA announced on its Facebook page on Friday that the forces took control over Mitiga Airport - Tripoli Road, oil storage tanks, Foroseya Bridge, Al Noqaleya Military Camp, the headquarters of Passport and Nationality Authority, the road having the headquarters of the General Security Directorate, and Maqsam Al Naagy district.

Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) requested on Thursday Turkish military intervention providing air, ground, and sea support to its militias in Tripoli against the attempts of the Libyan National Army (LNA) to capture the capital.

Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan stated on Thursday that troops will be sent to Libya upon the request of the interim government in Tripoli and that the parliament is expected to pass the decree on January 8.

On Thursday, the Turkish gazette published the endorsement of the MoU on military and security cooperation signed by Turkey and the Government of National Accord (GNA) on November 27 announcing its enactment. On December 21, the Turkish parliament’s plenary session approved the MoU’s endorsement.

On Wednesday, Erdogan visited Tunisia to discuss cooperation over endeavors to reach a ceasefire in Libya. On Thursday, GNA’s Ministry of Interior Fathy Bash Agha stated in a press conference that Tunisia is part of an alliance encompassing GNA and Turkey, which was negated by Spokeswoman of the Tunisian Presidency Rashida al-Nayfar.

Agha also stated on Thursday that the GNA may request Turkish military support, if the war near Tripoli continues as the LNA has been attempting to enter Tripoli since April.

The GNA has not reached an agreement with LNA and is protected by militias. Since April, the LNA has been attempting to enter Tripoli and captured Mitiga airport for days. The LNA currently controls the majority of Libya’s territories while GNA’s militias occupy the northwestern corner of the country sharing borders with Tunisia. Some relatively small districts in the south are held by tribal militias. The LNA is backed by the Libyan House of Representatives and the government based in Tobruk eastern the country.

Chief of Staff of the Libyan Naval Force Faraj al-Mahdawi said on December 22 that the navy is on high alert to confront any possible attack by Turkish forces on Libya. "The army is also ready for action and will block any backup for the militias and prevent access of Turkish forces into the Libyan lands," Mahdawi told Al-Arabiya.

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