The Libyan National Army, commanded by Khalifa Haftar, is still pursuing its offensive to seize the city of Gharyan from militias loyal to Fayez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA), a high-ranking LNA officer told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The officer, who preferred to remain anonymous, stated that the LNA forces withdrew Monday from the city, located 100 km southwest of Tripoli, after it had entered its suburbs “out of fear of being betrayed.” More than 20 militants were killed in the fighting, while the LNA lost only four fighters.
The situation is under control, he assured, adding that Sarraj pro-forces arrested Brigadier-General Fawzi Abu Harara who is the commander of Gharyan Operations Room.
Abu Harara resides in Gharyan and was appointed to his post in 2017, but is no longer in the army forces and did not take part in the offensive. Despite this, they still claimed to have arrested him in order to compensate for their losses, said the officer.
Moreover, he remarked that Haftar’s appearance in person to oversee the battle to recapture Gharyan will further motivate the troops, stressing that Tripoli is the main goal. All cities will fall once the LNA enters the capital.
The LNA had announced on Monday that all military operations were being carried out according to a detailed plan, the first phase of which has been complete. Only a few more steps remain to declare full official control of Gharyan.
The LNA had made progress in recapturing the city after seizing the Ghout al-Reeh area on its outskirts.
In contrast, the GNA claimed that its fighters forced the LNA to retreat from Gharyan after carrying out six airstrikes against the advancing troops.
Spokesman for the GNA’s Volcano of Rage Operation, Mustafa al-Majai told the Xinhua news agency that the GNA deterred an LNA attack to recapture Gharyan, forcing the troops to retreat. He confirmed that eight pro-GNA fighters were killed and ten wounded in the clashes.