Libya’s internationally-recognised authorities says it has captured the strategic al-Watiya airbase from fighters loyal to renegade army commander Khalifa Haftar.
Navy spokesman Mohamed Gnunu mentioned in a Twitter put up on Monday the forces of the Tripoli-based Authorities of Nationwide Accord (GNA) had taken over the whole lot of the bottom close to the Tunisian border.
The announcement by the administration of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj got here after a month-long counteroffensive that has seen forces allied to it drive Haftar’s troops out of a lot of Libya’s western coast.
Haftar launched an offensive in April 2019 to grab management of Tripoli, leading to a stalemated battle that has killed greater than 1,000 folks.
Analysts say the GNA’s seize of al-Watiya, positioned some 25km (16 miles) from the Tunisia border, will permit its forces to totally give attention to repelling Haftar’s fighters in southern Tripoli.
After a withdrawal of #LAAF-aligned forces, the seize of #Wutiya by #GNA-aligned forces is confirmed.
The bottom has been a strategic asset for #Haftar for over half a decade.
Although its seize is by & massive symbolic militarily, strategically & morale-wise, it’s vital. https://t.co/2uIMmtToOu pic.twitter.com/xbY1zpkWyv
— Emadeddin Badi (@emad_badi) Might 18, 2020
“This may change the stability of energy in favour of the GNA. It’s a main setback for Haftar as it’s the final stronghold for his forces in western Libya,” mentioned Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed, reporting from Tripoli.
“Haftar’s forces have launched air strikes from that base to focus on authorities troops in a number of areas in western Libya, particularly within the confrontation axes in southern Tripoli.”
The North African nation, a significant oil producer, has been mired in chaos since 2011 when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in a NATO-backed rebellion.
It’s now cut up between two rival administrations: The GNA in Tripoli and the eastern-based Home of Representatives allied with Haftar and his self-styled Libyan Nationwide Military.