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Haftar’s Forces Progress In Tripoli, As Siege Of Al-Watiya Airbase By GNA Begins

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Haftar's Forces Progress In Tripoli, As Siege Of Al-Watiya Airbase By GNA Begins

Al-Watiya air base. Click to see full-size image

On April 15th, Brigadier General Ahmed Al-Mesmari, spokesperson of the Libyan National Army gave a press conference regarding the events of the past several days in Sabratha and Surman.

First, al-Mesmari began by saying that the Government of National Accord (GNA) forces were also preparing for an attack towards the east, in an attempt to capture Sirte back from Haftar’s forces.

However, due to an LNA operation a large number of enemy forces and equipment were destroyed.

This took place in the Abu Greine area, and currently there is a lull, following the operation. LNA intelligence is monitoring the movements of the factions in the direction of the city of Tawarg, the airspace over Misrata is closed.

There are heavy clashes in the area around Castelverde, and the LNA is allegedly with the upper hand, but he provided no additional details.

In Tripoli, the LNA is successfully pushing into Ain Zar and Abu Salim.

LNA entered the Abu Salim quarters from the south and southwest.

On the night of April 13th, it captured several Syrians, killed several, seized weapons, equipment and ammunition.

Regarding the events that took place in Sabratha and Surman.

According to him, LNA forces did not enter these cities with weapons.

An example is given with Sabratha – the population did not want the presence of terrorist groups in the city, the operational headquarters of Sabratha was created, all the youth of Sabratha gathered around this headquarters and expelled all terrorist groups.

In 2018, GNA council president Fayez al-Serraj honored the Sabratha officers, gave them high ranks.

Then they were on the side of the Presidential Council, which made many statements, but did not really follow up on their promises.

Many ISIS fighters from the Mitig prison arrived in the city. The residents of Sabrahta and Surman were not satisfied with this course of events, and they came to a peaceful protest and appealed to the Libyan government, the House of Representatives and the High Command of the LNA.

The forces that were present there were the self-defense forces of these cities: Surman, Sabratha, al-Ajailat.

And when the attack happened, which was completely supervised by the Turkish command using UAVs, about which the Turks wrote in their newspapers and on websites, the terrorist groups belonging to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State were able to go on the offensive.

“People often try to blame the LNA for the crimes committed by the armed groups themselves. We want everyone to know that we are fighting the terrorist groups controlled by Turkey through their agent Serraj.”

Our forces at al-Watiya airbase are in full readiness. The aircraft made several attacks on the Shakshuk area, and struck at factions. In al-Ass, a large number of equipment of the GNA forces were destroyed, who were planning an attack on the airbase.

“Why is there such an interest in this base? Because in Tripoli our forces are close to Mitiga, and the Turks are looking for a replacement for this base, and want to capture al-Watiya.”

He then urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to be honest to the Turkish people.

“We are fighting a war against the Turkish Armed Forces, with all its arms. We will never stain ourselves with what armed groups do.

When we entered Zliten, al-Adzhayilat and other cities of the region, we did not break into any house. We went into the cities to drive out the terrorists. This war will be long. Our Commander-in-Chief said back in 2016 that the war would be long.

We urge Erdogan to explain to the Turkish people how he rules with such a stupid mind, and we urge him not to dream that he can become a new caliph for the Libyans and other nations, and not to dream that everything can be solved with the help of weapons.”

On the ground, the GNA carried out heavy shelling of LNA forces south of Tripoli in Qasr Bin Ghashir and Souq Al-Sabt.

Meanwhile, the air strikes mentioned by al-Mesmari took place, on a convoy of at least 30 vehicles moving towards al-Watiya airbase.

LNA Air Force targets the gathering of GNA military vehicles at Al-Raheebat Junction, slightly to the west of Tripoli. These vehicles were also likely moving towards al-Watiya.

The heavy clashes are on-going, and it appears that the LNA is making progress in Tripoli and towards Mitiga, while the GNA could likely be making progress towards al-Watiya.

UAE drones supporting Haftar’s forces had carried out airstrikes on forces loyal to GNA in the Western Mountain city of Jadu, killing eight and injuring 15 persons, sources from the city said.

The commander of the GNA’s western joint operations room Osama Juwaili called on the cities harboring “gangs escaping from west coast cities” to Western Mountain region to kick them out so that Libyan Army forces wouldn’t have to carry out military operations in those areas.

Juwaili told reporters that Haftar managed to bring to his side “criminals and Gaddafi” loyalists with fake promises and money, using Sabratha and Surman to mobilize those “gangs at Al-Watiya airbase to bomb Tripoli”.

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