Mon. Oct 18th, 2021

Khalifa Haftar
Khalifa Haftar

(dpa/NAN) Forces led by Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar said on Friday that they were coming closer to the centre of the capital Tripoli.

Tripoli is under the control of a rival government – Government of National Accord (GNA) – which is backed by the United Nations (UN).

Earlier this month, Haftar, the chief of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), announced a new“decisive” battle for Tripoli.

In April, he ordered an offensive to seize the city from the GNA, but the campaign ended in a stalemate.

On Friday, the LNA media centre said that Haftar’s forces had captured key positions in the southern part of Tripoli including the city’s international airport, which has been out of operation since 2014, and a military camp.

The LNA forces have also taken control of the airport road after pushing back GNA-aligned militias, the centre added on its Facebook page without details.

There was no immediate comment from the Tripoli government.

The alleged progress makes Haftar’s forces about 10 kilometres from the heart of Tripoli.

On Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country would send troops to Libya at the request of the Libyan government that last month signed a controversial security cooperation pact with Ankara.

The step has stoked fears that Libya’s years-long feud could evolve into a regional conflict.

Libya slid into anarchy after a 2011 armed revolt, which toppled long-time dictator Moamer Gaddafi.

The oil-rich country has at least two competing administrations: the UN-backed government and the other based in the eastern city of Tobruk, which is allied with Haftar. (dpa/NAN)

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