The Libyan National Army (LNA) continues making progress in its campaign against the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), announcing on Monday November 18th the targeting of ammunition depots in the areas of Al-Karimiya, Al-Suwani, Al-Azizia, Gharyan, Wadi Al-Rabie, Ain Zara and Salah Al-Din on the outskirts of Tripoli.
“Our Libyan Arab armed forces continue with their men and heroes to perform their mission of eliminating terrorist militias and armed gangs on various fronts," the LNA said in a statement.
LNA units have advanced on various areas after taking control of new militia fortifications in the axis of Al-Azizia.
The LNA statement added that the army has seized an important observatory in Ain Zara, a key defensive stronghold for Sarraj forces, in addition to the capture of two militia members affiliated to the Sarraj government.
In the same context, the General Command of the LNA issued an important statement on the air strikes that targeted the city of Misrata on Monday.
According to the statement, "the air strikes, carried out within the framework of comprehensive military operations, came on the basis of accurate information on the transfer of 19 armoured vehicles by the Turkish cargo ship ‘Kusavak Dock’ from Turkey to Misrata’s iron and steel port. They were later transferred from the port and stored in an industrial area in the city centre for use in ground operations.”
“This support constitutes a new breach by Turkey of the UN Security Council resolutions, which provide for an arms embargo," the statement said.
The statement noted that "after the completion of intelligence information through the tracking and surveillance of this military shipment, from the beginning of the unloading of the armoured vehicles from the ship until their arrival in the warehouses, these armoured vehicles were targeted on the day of arrival and before leaving the warehouses to prevent their use in acts of aggression, threatening security and the safety of the country.”
In its statement, the General Command of the LNA warned of the ‘continued Turkish military support’ for the GNA.
Since April, the LNA has launched a number of assaults on Tripoli in an effort to free it from what it sees as terrorist militias. In these operations, LNA forces have inflicted heavy losses on GNA militias and allied terrorist groups, with the destruction of more than 30 Turkish drones, and the killing of wounding of several militia leaders.
According to recent media statements from the Director of the LNA Media Centre Khalid Al-Mahgoub, the intensity of the fighting against the militias is on the rise, with LNA forces achieving progress towards south of Tripoli.
“Troops took full control of Khalta’at axis on Tuesday on the outskirts of Abu Salim, south of Tripoli,” Al-Mahgoub told the Al-Ain news agency on November 19th.
The increasing role of terrorist groups on the GNA side has played an important part in recent successes of the LNA, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, as it wins over support from ordinary Libyans who wish to get rid of militants and the chaos they cause.
Many Libyans now feel more inclined to reject a government not only in thrall to militias, but also one which has instigated a culture of hatred towards anyone who is different in religion, sect or thought.
Sarraj’s GNA relies on extremist militias, with wide security powers. They include the Special Deterrence Force which controls access to Tripoli and to Mitiga International Airport.
The GNA regards the Special Deterrence Force as a police force, despite accusations that it, along with other Tripoli-based militias, are nothing more than criminal networks.
Since the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has been plagued by a civil war involving extremist groups. These include the Muslim Brotherhood and allied militias that now dominate the capital Tripoli, representing the military wing of the government of Fayez al-Sarraj.
The GNA provides these militias with political cover, calling them revolutionary forces. Thousands of civilians have been killed and injured by these militias, which continue to threaten Libya’s stability by spreading armed chaos as they fight for influence.