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Middle East

Tripoli forces push opponents back slightly south of Libyan capital: Reuters

Sunday 21/April/2019 - 04:34 PM
Sada El Balad

(Reuters) - Forces loyal to Libya’s internationally recognized government have pushed their eastern opponents back on parts of the frontline south of Tripoli، despite the attackers flying overnight air strikes on the capital، witnesses said on Sunday.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) force loyal to commander Khalifa Haftar allied to a parallel government in the east started an offensive more two weeks ago but has been unable to breach the southern defenses of the Tripoli government.

The latest flare-up in the cycle of anarchy gripping Libya since dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011 threatens to disrupt oil flows، foment migration across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe، and allow jihadists to exploit the chaos.

Forces loyal to Tripoli managed to push back the LNA several km (miles) in the southern Ain Zara suburb، Reuters reporters visiting the area said. They managed to go several km further south than when they visited the same frontline a few days ago.

Still، if a ceasefire was called as demanded by the United Nations، the LNA would have gained a considerable amount of territory، as they still control much of the area south of Tripoli including a forward base in Gharyan، a mountainous town some 80 km south of Tripoli.

LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari denied his forces had retreated، telling reporters they had actual gained territory after what he called a successful air strike.

Edited by: Mohamed Emad

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