Last night, the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar, captured Tripoli International Airport and several nearby areas deployed in a less than 18km from the city of Tripoli itself. These gains were made in the framework of “Operation Flood of Dignity” launched on April 4.
Such large gains in a few days only became possible due to the fact that the city of Tripoli and nearby areas are controlled by various small armed groups [many of them linked to or inclide members of radical militant groups], which are only formally controlled by the pro-Western Government of National Accord (GNA).
#Libya– 2 of the more interesting/rare vehicles deployed so far by #Tripoli Protection Forces (#TPF) as part of Operation "Wadi-Doum 2" against the #LNA:
– Top shaved humvee converted to technical carrying a recoilless rifle
– 2 STREIT Group Spartans pic.twitter.com/A3rubPXma3
— Oded Berkowitz (@Oded121351) April 6, 2019
In fact, the GNA controls only a part of the city of Tripoli. However, the LNA advance has forced at least a part of these competing factions to start working together in an attempt to keep control of the city. According to local sources, it’s unlikely that these factions will be able to regroup and stop the LNA advance before it is able to reach the city vicinity. However, the battle for Tripoli may become a serious challenge for the LNA.
Another important factor is the support, which the US-led “international community” may provide to the GNA. The US military’s AFRICOM has capabilities to carry out airstrikes in Libya.
At the same time, the UN Security Council called on warring factions to stop military activity. In own turn, the LNA says that it’s determined to liberate Tripoli from “terrorists”.