Blow for Libya’s Haftar as Tripoli government seizes last stronghold near capital
People's Daily


A fighter of Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) of Fayez Serraj, fires his rifle during clashes with forces of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar, at Al-Khalla frontline. (File photo: CGTN)

Libyan forces loyal to Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) captured the last major stronghold of eastern commander Khalifa Haftar near the capital on Friday, capping the sudden collapse of his 14-month offensive on the capital.

Reuters reports military sources in Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) to say their forces had withdrawn from the town of Tarhouna. They headed towards Sirte, far along the coast, and the airbase of al-Jufra in central Libya. The LNA made no immediate official comment.

Haftar has waged a months-long offensive on the GNA forces in a bid to capture Tripoli, and was initially successful in capturing some key towns. However, Turkey offered the GNA military support, including drones, helping to turn the tide on LNA.

The Tripoli-based troops steadily regained control of vital regions around the northwest of Libya, reversing many of Haftar's gains from last year.

The North African country has been dogged by war since the December 2011 death of former leader Muammar Gaddafi, as various armed groups fought for control of various regions.

The conflict has killed thousands and displaced millions even as the international community piles pressure on the waring factions to engage in dialogue to bring peace.

Upon Friday's capturing of Tarhouna, GNA troops went into a frenzy, chanting slogans to show their victory.

Videos and photographs posted online appeared to show troops cheering and hugging each other and firing into the air.