By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 30 May 2017:
Pro-Presidency Council militiaman Hashem Bishr and his ally the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade (TRB), led by Haitham Tajouri, have welcomed the return of displaced Tripoli people currently residing in Zintan – but insisted that no outside force could enter the capital and accompany returnees.
The pro-Libyan National Army (LNA) and Zintan-based Special Operations Force announced yesterday they would oversee the return of 20,000 displaced residents back to Tripoli under its protection.
Bishr praised the idea but said it must be coordinated and organised with the Ministry of Interior.
However, he added:”The entry of an armed force from outside Tripoli is unacceptable.”
The sentiment was echoed by the TRB who after pointing out that displaced people did not need permission to return to their Tripoli homes also said there was no need for a “force” to protect them. It stated flatly that it would “not allow any armed group to enter Tripoli”.
The Zintani brigade, commanded by Emad Trabelsi, has said that it is neutral even though it comes under the command of the LNA and its Beida-based government.
Yesterday, it insisted “The Force reminds people that it has men from different areas of the nation and it confirms that it is not against any side in Tripoli”.
The planned return is supposed to happen in the next three days.
Until 2014 when they were thrown out when the capital was seized by Libya Dawn militias, Zintani forces had controlled Tripoli International Airport and the region around it. They had taken the airport in 2011 during the Revolution. After they had withdrawn the airport and several wraircraft were destroyed by fire.