Libyan force attacking Tripoli gives militias 3-day deadline

1 / 2
For months, the LNA and the militias have been locked in fierce clashes on Tripoli's southern outskirts, with the fighting mostly stalemated. (Screenshot)
2 / 2
Libya's UN-recognized Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj (C) holds a cabinet meeting in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Dec. 19, 2019. (AFP/Tripoli. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 21 December 2019

Libyan force attacking Tripoli gives militias 3-day deadline

  • Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) approved the implementation of a military deal with Turkey
  • Erdogan said on Dec. 10 that Ankara was ready to send troops to Libya to support the GNA

TRIPOLI: A Libyan force fighting to capture the country's capital from the U.N.-supported government based there on Friday gave the militias defending Tripoli a three-day deadline to pull out.

The self-styled Libyan National Army issued a statement demanding that the powerful Misrata militias, which are fighting on behalf of the government in the Libyan capital, withdraw from both Tripoli and the coastal city of Sirte.

The Misrata militias are named after the western Libyan town of Misrata, which saw some of the heaviest fighting during the 2011 uprising that led to the ouster and killing of longtime dictator Moammar Qaddafi. The militias played a key role in Qaddafi's ouster.

The rebirth of AlUla
Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world



For months, the LNA and the militias have been locked in fierce clashes on Tripoli's southern outskirts, with the fighting mostly stalemated.

Last week, LNA commander Khalifa Haftar declared the “zero hour” of the battle for Tripoli had begun, nearly eight months after he began his offensive to take the city. The announcement triggered a fresh bout of clashes around Tripoli.

Friday's LNA statement warned that if the militias do not withdraw, their town Misrata will continue to be targeted “every day, non stop and in an unprecedentedly intensive way.”

The warning came shortly after an LNA airstrike targeted sites where Turkish weapons and military equipment had been stored, said the statement. The Tripoli-based government led by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj condemned the attack, saying it caused civilian casualties but without providing details.

Turkey and Qatar, as well as Italy, have been allied with Sarraj's government, while Haftar is backed by France, Russia and key Arab countries, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

The U.N. mission in Libya tweeted Friday that it regrets the recent escalation in fighting and all foreign interference, and urged Libyans to return to political dialogue.

Since Haftar's forces launched their offensive on Tripoli in April, both sides have exchanged accusations of deploying allied foreign forces in the ongoing civil war, which has seen Libya divided since 2015 between two governments, one based in the west, in Tripoli, and the other based in the east. Haftar is allied with the east-based government.

Haftar was particularly angered after Sarraj signed a maritime deal and security pact with Turkish President Recep Tayeb Erdogan last month. That pact also angered Egypt. Erdogan later said that Ankara could dispatch Turkish troops to assist the Tripoli-based government — if Sarraj's Cabinet asks for them.

Erdogan renewed his support of Sarraj's government on Friday by criticizing the alleged presence of Russian-backed fighters in Libya.

“It would not be right for us to remain a spectator in the face of this. We have done whatever we can until now and will continue to do so,” he told Turkish reporters at the end of a trip to Malaysia.

The Tripoli-based government has recently said that it had evidence Russia was deploying fighters through a private security contractor to back Haftar's forces in key battleground areas in the past months.

Moscow has repeatedly denied playing any role in Libya’s fighting.

LIVE: Countries ease coronavirus regulations to reverse coronavirus pandemic impact on economies

Updated 15 min 54 sec ago

LIVE: Countries ease coronavirus regulations to reverse coronavirus pandemic impact on economies

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia announced it was easing the 24-hour lockdown brought into force during Eid – except in Makkah.
The initial timings will be from 3 p.m. until 6 a.m., but May 31, the curfew will run from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. The Kingdom plans to remove all curfews by June 21.
Meanwhile, Dubai will allow free movement and business activity to restart during the day from Wednesday. The new timing of the curfew will be from 11.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m., the Dubai Media Office said in a press release.
May 26, 2020, Wednesday (All times in GMT)
– South American carrier Latam Airlines says it is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it grapples with the sharp downturn in air travel sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.
Santiago, Chile-based Latam Airlines Group S.A. said Tuesday that it and its affiliated companies launched the reorganization effort in the United States.
04:49 – Singapore’s embattled economy could shrink by as much as 7 percent this year, which would be the county’s worst reading since its independence, with the government saying Tuesday the coronavirus pandemic had throttled the key export sector.
The city-state is seen as a bellwether of the global economy and the historic contraction highlights the extreme pain being wrought on countries by the killer disease.
04:44 – Thailand on Tuesday reported three new coronavirus cases and no new deaths, bringing its total to 3,045 confirmed cases and 57 fatalities.