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Libyan army moves to liberate town of al-Asaba

Retaking al-Asaba essential to liberating city of Tarhouna from warlord Haftar's militia, says Libyan army

Walid Abdullah   | 20.05.2020
Libyan army moves to liberate town of al-Asaba

TRIPOLI 

The Libyan army on Wednesday morning announced its continued progress towards liberating a key town 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of the capital Tripoli from warlord Khalifa Haftar's militia.

"The army continues advancing towards al-Asaba to liberate it from the Haftar militia ... The clashes are very fierce," said Mustafa al-Majei, spokesman for the government’s Operation Volcano of Rage.

Two army personnel were injured at the town’s entrance by drones of the United Arab Emirates, one of the countries supporting the warlord’s forces, he added.

The spokesman stressed that retaking al-Asaba is essential to liberating the city of Tarhouna further south as it will help cut off supply lines to Haftar's militia.

Meanwhile, local tribes in al-Asaba announced their support to the Libyan government.

"Based on a meeting held by the tribes of the town of al-Asaba, it was decided to join the Government of National Accord," the town’s social council said on Facebook.

The local council of Mizdah town, located 100 kilometers (some 63 miles) southwest of Tripoli, also threw their support to the Libyan government and army against Haftar. 

"We announce the support of the legitimate Government of National Accord headed by Fayez al-Sarraj," the city council said in a statement.

Libya’s army on Monday retook Al-Watiya Airbase occupied by Haftar's militias, a key facility now back under government control after some six years under putschist forces.

The move came after the Libyan army destroyed three Russian-made Pantsir type air defense systems used by Haftar’s forces that were also supplied by the UAE.

Libya's government has been under attack by Haftar's forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence.

Following the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya's government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led political deal.

Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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