Libya — GNA Retakes Tripoli Airport, Big Blow to Haftar

  • “Our forces have fully liberated Tripoli international airport,” a spokesman announced.
  • Meanwhile, the fighting axes in the south of Tripoli continue to witness clashes and tensions.
  • As per an announcement by the United Nations Mission in Libya on June 2, the Tripoli government and Haftar's army said they were willing to resume negotiations.

The forces of the Tripoli government, also known as the Government of National Accord (GNA), managed to re-seize the capital’s airport from forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar on Wednesday. The news of the airport’s seizure was broken by the GNA’s army spokesman, Mohamed Qanunu.

Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj is the Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and prime minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) of Libya that was formed as a result of the Libyan Political Agreement signed on 17 December 2015. He has been a member of the Parliament of Tripoli.

Qanunu specified that his forces managed to drive out the Libyan National Army (LNA) militias, led by General Khalifa Haftar. “Our forces have fully liberated Tripoli international airport,” he announced.

This progress is the result of two days of intense battles in the areas surrounding Tripoli airport, which saw Haftar’s army back away hour after hour. Tripoli airport has been out of service since 2014, and the Mitiga airport is the only one still active in the capital, Tripoli. However, its operations aren’t smooth, owing to continuous interruptions.

The head of the Presidential Council of Tripoli, as well as Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, on the evening of June 3, congratulated the army on the airport re-seizure, extending an olive branch to the LNA affiliated fighters to surrender to the “legitimate authorities.”

Political, social and civilian elites have been urged to commit themselves to stop military escalation and create a climate conducive to the resumption of the peaceful political path.

Meanwhile, the fighting axes in the south of Tripoli continue to witness clashes and tensions as representatives of the two belligerent parties, the GNA and the LNA, continue with political and diplomatic mobilization.

As per an announcement by the United Nations Mission in Libya on June 2, the Tripoli government and Haftar’s army said they were willing to resume negotiations within the framework of the Joint 5 + 5 Military Committee, with the aim to put a stop to the Libyan conflict.

The Second Libyan Civil War is an ongoing conflict among rival factions seeking control of Libya. The conflict is mostly between the House of Representatives, elected in 2014 with a low turnout, relocated to Tobruk, which appointed Marshal Khalifa Haftar as commander-in-chief of the Libyan National Army with the mission of restoring its sovereignty over the whole of Libyan territory, and the Government of National Accord, led by Fayez al-Sarraj, based in the capital Tripoli and established after failed military coups and the relocation of the House of Representatives to Tobruk.

It is a joint group, made up of five representatives of the LNA and as many members of the GNA, established by the Berlin conference of 19 January 2020. The first meeting took place in Geneva under the auspices of the United Nations on February 3. However, despite the initial optimism, the second round, undertaken on February 18, did not bring the desired results. Additionally, the GNA withdrew. This caused the resumption of tensions in the different combat axes.

For his part, General Haftar has said he was in favor of the resumption of negotiations. However, during a visit to Cairo on June 3, he specified that before starting talks with the GNA, Turkish forces must be withdrawn from Libya. In this regard, the general also asked for Egypt’s support in ending the Ankara interference, and renewed the request to end the arms embargo on the LNA. Last but not least, Haftar said he was in favor of applying an “Arab” joint defense agreement, calling for international control to prevent arms trafficking from Turkey.

From February 15, 2011 the Libyan territories have witnessed a climate of tension and violence. After the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s dictatorial regime in October 2011, the country has never managed to complete a democratic transition.

The GNA represents the only legitimate government, recognized internationally, and is led by Fayez al-Serraj. Ankara, Doha and Rome are its main supporters. The Libyan National Army, headed by, General Haftar, is supported by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Russia and France. Jordan is also considered to be a major arms exporter for the LNA.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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