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LNA Sends Reinforcements to Tripoli as Sarraj Appeals to Turkey

LNA Sends Reinforcements to Tripoli as Sarraj Appeals to Turkey

Saturday, 4 May, 2019 - 05:30
Libyan National Army (LNA) members head out of Benghazi to reinforce troops advancing towards Tripoli, in Benghazi, Libya, April 7, 2019. (Reuters)

The Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Khalifa Haftar, continued to send reinforcements to the outskirts of Tripoli as it inches closer to achieving its battle objectives.

Fierce clashes using heavy weapons broke out in eastern Tripoli after an LNA air strike. The jets also struck positions to forces loyal to Fayez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) in the Ain Zara, Salaheddine and Wadi al-Rabih areas of southern Tripoli.

There was heavy fighting from Thursday afternoon until early morning Friday in the area of the former international airport.

It resumed at midday on Friday. Eight fighters allied to Tripoli were killed and 42 wounded, a medical source told Reuters.

The LNA moved up on one part of the front earlier this week but was repelled by the pro-GNA forces, who had built barriers, including shipping containers, on southern roads where tanks and artillery guns are in position.

The GNA forces regained some ground but analysts say the threat of the LNA will persist as long as it keeps its forward base in Gharyan, about 80 km (50 miles) south of Tripoli.

Meanwhile, a GNA spokesman said his administration was talking to its ally Turkey to obtain military and civilian help - “anything that is needed to stop the assault”.

Separately, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian dismissed accusations by the GNA that Paris was supporting Haftar in his current offensive. France’s interest was to fight terrorism, he said.

“This is our objective in the region,” Le Drian told Le Figaro newspaper.

GNA Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha had accused Paris of supporting the LNA.

Le Drian added that he has noted that Bashagha regularly criticizes France and its alleged involvement in the crisis, while he does not hesitate to turn to Ankara.

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