Tripoli ground and air fighting intensifies ahead of international conference
By Sami Zaptia.
London, 22 September 2019:
Fighting on the ground and airstrikes on the edges of Tripoli intensified over the last few days.
These come ahead of – or in anticipation of – a planned international conference on the Libyan crisis initiated by Germany.
Analysts suspect that both sides want to strengthen their bargaining positions ahead of the conference.
Both sides in the fighting have reported heavy fighting in Khalat Al-Furjan, Sbea, Aziziya and in and around the disused Tripoli International Airport.
Tripoli residents report that the fighting on the ground has been complimented by increased airstrikes which can be heard across the capital.
Both sides have made unsubstantiated claims of successes and progress, reporting destruction of the enemy’s materiel, munitions and the killing of fighters.
Yesterday, the forces defending Tripoli, nominally aligned to the internationally recognized Libyan government led by Faiez Serraj, claimed that they had downed a Russian drone belonging to the pro Hafter forces.
This morning the forces defending Tripoli claimed that they reinforced their positions and repulsed a push by the Khalifa Hafter forces around the Rockets/Missiles barracks in Khallat Al-Furjan and the Yarmouk barracks in a battle that started yesterday and continued to this morning.
They also claimed to have captured a number of pro Hafter forces.
On Sunday, Hafter’s forces claimed that their units had “progressed” at the Aziziya front, taking a number of new positions. They claimed they destroyed armaments and forced them back in panic.
They also claimed to have killed a number of commanders of the opposing forces.
On Thursday the pro Hafter forces claimed their Air Force targeted several positions including the National Mobile Force in Janzur.
The fighting that was started on 4 April by Hafter’s forces on the pretext of “liberating” Tripoli from the “terrorists, Islamists and militias” has been in a stalemate.
Hafter’s forces have failed to penetrate the outskirts of Tripoli and despite pushing Hafter out of Gharian the Tripoli forces have failed to push Hafter back further or defeat him.