Nearly 150 killed in battle for Tripoli: WHO

Fighters loyal to Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) hold a position, some 60 kilometres southwest of the capital Tripoli. (AFP)
Updated 16 April 2019

Nearly 150 killed in battle for Tripoli: WHO

  • Casualties leave health facilities in ‘critical need of assistance,’ says UN refugee agency

TRIPOLI: At least 147 people have been killed and 614 wounded in the offensive launched on April 4 by Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar to take the capital Tripoli, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday.

The clashes have displaced more than 18,000 people, according to the latest figures from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Fighting broke out as Haftar’s forces sought to take control of Tripoli from loyalists of the internationally backed Government of National Accord (GNA) which is based in the capital.

The rising number of casualties has prompted the WHO to deploy surgical teams “to support Tripoli-area hospitals as they cope with the influx of trauma cases,” the UN agency wrote on Twitter.

At least eight ambulances have been hit during clashes in the southern outskirts of the capital, as both sides have defied international calls to halt the fighting.

WHO urged “all parties to exercise restraint and avoid causing collateral damage to hospitals, ambulances and health workers.”

In addition to ground fighting, both pro-government forces and Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) carry out daily air raids and accuse each other of targeting civilians.

The resulting casualties have left health facilities in “critical need of assistance,” according to the United Nations refugee agency.

“The situation on the ground continues deteriorating and number of casualties soaring,” UNHCR tweeted.


Anti-Assad fighters withdraw from key area of northwest Syria

Updated 20 August 2019

Anti-Assad fighters withdraw from key area of northwest Syria

  • The withdrawal means an important Turkish observation point in the nearby town of Morek is effectively surrounded by government forces
  • After eight years of civil war, the Idlib region on the border with Turkey is the last major stronghold of opposition to President Bashar

BEIRUT: Jihadists and allied rebels withdrew from a key area of northwestern Syria Tuesday as President Bashar Assad’s forces pressed an offensive against the jihadist-run Idlib region, a war monitor said.
The fighters pulled back from the town of Khan Sheikun and the countryside to its south overnight and in the early hours of Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The withdrawal means an important Turkish observation point in the nearby town of Morek is effectively surrounded by government forces, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
On Monday, a Turkish military convoy crossed the border into the Idlib region, sparking condemnation from Damascus as Ankara alleged air strikes had targeted its troops.
The convoy halted just north of Khan Sheikhun on Monday afternoon and remained there on Tuesday, after government forces took control of a section of the highway into the town.
Pro-government newspaper Al-Watan said Monday morning’s strike targeted a rebel vehicle scouting the road in front of the Turkish convoy.
“The Syrian army in its own way sent a clear message to the Turkish regime by forcing convoys sent by Ankara to help the terrorists in Khan Sheikhun to come to a halt,” it said.
It was a “clear warning against any Turkish attempt to resuscitate the terrorists,” the paper said, adding that the strike had “Russian support.”
After eight years of civil war, the Idlib region on the border with Turkey is the last major stronghold of opposition to President Bashar Assad’s regime.
Since January, it has been administered by the Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham alliance, which is led by jihadists from Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.
The region of some three million people was supposed to be protected by a Turkish-Russian buffer zone deal signed last year.
But government and Russian forces have subjected it to heavy bombardment since late April, killing more than 860 civilians, according to an Observatory toll.
The United Nations says the shelling and air strikes have also hit dozens of health facilities and caused more than 400,000 people to flee their homes.
The war in Syria has killed more than 370,000 people since the rebels first took arms following the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011.
Rival interventions by outside powers have turned it into a complex conflict with multiple battle fronts that has driven millions of civilians from their homes.