A member of the Libyan National Army fires a weapon during clashes with Islamist militants in Khreibish district in Benghazi, Libya, November 10, 2017 - REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori
TRIPOLI, June 5 (MENA) – The Libyan National Army (LNA) withdrew from Tarhouna after facing intense Turkish bombardment, LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mosmari said at a press conference on Friday.
He framed the retreat as a strategic decision to keep heavy fighting outside the city's populated civilian districts. He also would not declare the end of Hifter's assault, vowing, "the battles are not finished, they will continue," ABC News reported.
The retaking of Tarhouna followed other front-line successes of the militias allied with the Tripoli government. On Thursday, they said they regained control of all of Tripoli's entrance and exit points, and the day before, they said they took back the Tripoli airport.
Turkey has boosted its support for the Tripoli-allied militias in recent months, sending drones and other military hardware, along with thousands of Syrian mercenaries, many of them with links to militant groups. This has enabled the Tripoli forces to take back almost all the towns and territories around the Libyan capital that the LNA side had taken previously.
Forces allied with the Tripoli government said Friday they have retaken another key western town from rivals behind a year-long offensive on Tripoli.