Militias in Libya’s Misrata have amassed thousands of fighters to head to Tripoli and its surroundings to prop up embattled Government of National Accord (GNA) chief Fayez al-Sarraj against the offensive launched by Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar against the capital.
The operation is aimed at ridding Tripoli of terrorist and criminal gangs.
LNA commander of the western region operations, General Abdulsalam al-Hassi refused to disclose to Asharq Al-Awsat the timetable for completing the liberation of Tripoli.
He said that the army was not waging a regular war the end of which can be estimated.
“We are waging a guerrilla war,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the GNA announced the launch of Operation Volcano of Anger to counter the LNA offensive.
It said that it was aimed at ridding Tripoli of all “outlaws”.
Hassi assured that his forces were marching steadily on the capital.
Everything is going according to plan, he said.
The GNA announced that 21 people have been killed and 27 wounded in the ongoing offensive. The LNA revealed that 14 of its soldiers were killed in the operation that it kicked off on Wednesday.
The Libyan Red Crescent has evacuated an undisclosed number of families from areas that are caught in the fighting.
In a sign of worsening security, a contingent of US forces supporting the US Africa Command evacuated Libya for security reasons, a US statement said.
AFRICOM spokesman John Manley, meanwhile, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the forces have not received any appeal for military support in Libya.
The Command has not direct contact with the GNA, he explained.
He added that the security situation was a cause for concern, reiterating the UN call for reaching a political solution to the crisis.
There can be no military solution to reach stability in Libya, said the agency last week.