Libya’s GNA suspect new military escalation by Haftar-led forces

Videos circulated on social media in recent days show columns of LNA military vehicles trucking towards Tripoli.
This picture taken on June 28, 2019 shows view of the entrance of a camp that was used by forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar in Gharyan, 100 kilometres (60 miles) southwest of the Libyan capital Tripoli, with a tank and an armoured personnel carrier (APC) inside. – Libyan forces loyal to the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) claimed on June 26 to have retaken from Khalifa Haftar’s troops Gharyan, a strategic town where the controversial strongman’s fighters were based in the west of the country. Haftar, a retired general who had taken part in the revolt against late Libyan leader Moammer Kadhafi, unleashed an offensive in May 2014 to purge Libya of Islamists he branded “terrorists”. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

Libya’s UN-recognised government said Saturday it feared forces led by strongman Khalifa Haftar were prepping a new “military escalation” in their months-long push to take Tripoli.

Deadly fighting has rocked the capital’s outskirts since Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army launched an offensive on April 4 to take the city from the Government of National Accord.

The GNA said on its Facebook page it was “concerned over reports, confirmed by the UN and the media, on preparations for a new military escalation”.

The United Nations mission in Libya said in a tweet Saturday that it was “doing its outmost with all local and foreign actors to avoid military escalation and to ensure protection of civilians”.

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Videos circulated on social media in recent days, some by a pro-Haftar television channel, show columns of LNA military vehicles trucking towards the south of the capital. The footage could not be independently verified.

Haftar’s campaign to wrestle Tripoli from pro-GNA forces has left nearly 1,093 people dead, including 106 civilians, and over 5,750 wounded, according to the UN’s World Health Organization.

The fighting has also forced more than 100,000 people to flee their homes. 

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