Conflicting reports emerged Saturday about ongoing fighting over control in the Libyan capital Tripoli between forces loyal to East Libya-based commander and opponents.
Earlier reports said forces aligned with commander Khalifa Haftar captured the former Tripoli International Airport and several areas south of Tripoli.
However, Fathi Bashaga, a spokesman for the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), told Libya al-Ahrar TV that their forces had regained the airport from Haftar’s forces.
“Fighting is still ongoing on in Qasr bin Ghashir area near Tripoli,” Bashaga said.
“The battle will continue until the source of threat is eliminated,” he said, without providing further details.
On Saturday, a source with the Libyan Presidential Guard told Anadolu Agency that Haftar forces were still in control of Qasr bin Ghashir as GNA forces were mobilizing forces to relaunch a campaign to recapture areas under Haftar’s control.
The source, who preferred anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media, attributed losing some areas to Haftar due to “the disorganization and confusion of the forces".
He also said that the emergence of "new allies for Haftar especially in Tarhona region paved the way for his forces to enter Qasr Ben Ghashir".
On Thursday, Haftar reportedly announced in a voice recording released that they had launched an offensive to seize Tripoli.
Libya has remained beset by turmoil since 2011, when a NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of President Muammar Gaddafi after four decades in power.
Since then, the country’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power: one in the eastern city of Al-Bayda, to which Haftar is linked, and another in Tripoli.
* Writing by Mahmoud Barakat