Haftar forces quit Tripoli after year-long assault

The winners celebrate after regaining control over Tripoli on Thursday. (Reuters)
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Updated 05 June 2020

Haftar forces quit Tripoli after year-long assault

  • US envoy: Haftar’s defeat in Tripoli created an opportunity to stop fighting

TRIPOLI: Libya’s internationally recognized government regained control of Tripoli on Thursday, driving eastern forces out of the capital after a 14-month battle in which foreign powers poured in arms and fighters.

In the recaptured southern suburbs, bodies still lay on the ground and fighters brandished weapons abandoned by the eastern forces.

In the city center, civilians were glad the fighting was over. “It’s an incredible feeling. People can now return home and there is no more shelling,” said a 37-year-old man from the Ain Zara district, one of the areas taken, who asked not to use his name.

A military source with the eastern forces said they were pulling back from all of Tripoli’s suburbs. Government forces said they now held everything within the city boundary.

It represents a stinging reversal for eastern commander Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army (LNA), which launched an offensive on Tripoli last year pledging to unite Libya after years of chaos.

The US ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, said in a call with journalists on Thursday the situation had escalated dangerously, but added that Haftar’s defeat in Tripoli created an opportunity to stop fighting.

“Participants have a choice to watch it escalate into a full-blown regional war or to finally de-escalate,” he said.

The main outside powers engaged in the conflict have welcomed the decision to resume cease-fire talks and publicly say they support a political resolution, but it is unclear if they could agree on a settlement.

It leaves Libya still partitioned between rival administrations in Tripoli and Benghazi in the east.


Kuwait emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah dies aged 91

Updated 3 min 9 sec ago

Kuwait emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah dies aged 91

  • ‘With deep sadness and sorrow the Emiri Diwan sends its condolences to the people of Kuwait’
  • Sheikh Sabah ruled Kuwait from 2006

RIYADH: The emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, has died aged 91.

Sheikh Sabah ruled Kuwait since 2006.

His death was announced by the Emiri Diwan.

"With deep sadness and sorrow the Emiri Diwan sends its condolences to the people of Kuwait, the Arab and Muslim nations, and our friendly nations worldwide," Royal Court Minister Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al Sabah said on state TV.

Sheikh Sabah was admitted to hospital in July and underwent surgery, before traveling to the US for further treatment.

His death brought an ourtpouring of grief and condolences from both the Gulf, the region and beyond.

He served as Kuwait’s foreign minister from 1963 for four decades after holding a number of other governmental posts. He then became prime minister in 2003.