The Libyan military announced on Wednesday morning its continued progress towards liberating a key town 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of the capital Tripoli from the militia of warlord Khalifa Haftar.
“The army continues to advance towards al-Asaba to free it from the Haftar militia … The clashes are very violent,” said Mustafa al-Majei, spokesperson for the government’s Operation Volcano of Rage.
Two soldiers were injured at the entrance to the city by drones sent by the United Arab Emirates, one of the countries supporting the forces of the putschist general, he added.
The spokesperson stressed that the resumption of al-Asaba was essential to liberate the town of Tarhouna further south, as it would help cut the supply lines to Haftar’s militias. Meanwhile, local al-Asaba tribes have announced their support for the Libyan government.
âBased on a meeting held by the tribes of al-Asaba, the city decided to join the government of national accord,â the region’s social council said on Facebook.
The town of Mezde, in southern Tripoli, also declared its support for the GNA on Wednesday.
The Libyan army took over al-Watiya air base from Haftar militias on Monday. The base is a key facility now back under government control after about six years under putschist forces.
The move came after the Libyan military destroyed three Russian-made Pantsir-type air defense systems used by Haftar’s forces and also supplied by the United Arab Emirates.
The Libyan government has been under attack by Haftar’s forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 dead in the violence.
After the ousting of the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the Libyan government was founded in 2015 as part of a political agreement led by the UN.
The war in Libya will worsen, further increasing the negative outcomes for Libyans, the UN envoy to Libya, Stephanie Williams, warned on Tuesday.
“From what we are seeing in terms of a massive influx of weapons, equipment and mercenaries into both sides, the only conclusion we can draw is that this war will intensify, widen and deepen. with devastating consequences for the Libyan people, âhe added. told the Security Council.
She said the Libyans are “getting lost in the mix” as foreign intervention in the North African country’s conflict increases.
“We must not let Libya go,” said Williams. “By meeting now, this council can ensure the collective security it is mandated to maintain by exerting consistent and credible pressure on regional and international actors fueling the conflict.”
She said “alarming military build-up” was taking place in the conflict-affected country as foreign donors continue to deploy weapons and recruit more mercenaries on both sides.
“We can collectively write a different ending to this sad story so far, but only if we demonstrate a collective will to do so,” she added.