Haftar’s forces retreat from Aziziya

epa02870635 A photo made available 18 August 2011, shows a Libyan rebel fighter preparing a machine gun at the gates of Ajdabiya, Libya, 17 August 2011. According to media sources, the head of Libya's rebel Transitional National Council (TNC), Mustafa Abdul Jalil, has said that a final victory over leader Muammar Gaddafi was 'on the horizon' after recent military progress by the rebels, in remarks published 18 August. The rebels have been fighting for weeks to advance on the capital Tripoli. Since February, they have sought to oust Gaddafi who has been in power for 42 years. EPA/STRINGER

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Reuters reports that forces supporting Libya’s internationally recognised government in Tripoli pushed back troops loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar to more than 60 km south-west of the capital Tripoli.

As an effect of the offensive, the town of Aziziya was fully under the control of the Tripoli forces after days of fighting.

There was also fighting in some southern suburbs on Tuesday, with shelling heard throughout the day even in central Tripoli.

In recent days, forces backing the Tripoli administration have pushed back the LNA in some areas.

Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), which is allied to a rival government in eastern Libya, mounted an offensive on the capital almost three weeks ago but despite heavy fighting last week it has failed to breach the city’s southern defences.

According to United Nations figures 264 people, including 21 civilians, have been killed by the fighting since April 5 and 1266 wounded, including 69 civilians. About 32,000 civilians have fled their homes for safer areas.

Migrants in a detention facility in Qasr Ben Ghashir district, which has been fought since the start of the offensive, have reportedly seriously wounded in random shooting, the U.N. migration agency IOM said. It gave no more details.

The latest military action is a setback to Haftar’s plans to install himself as ruler of the whole country and could ease a dangerous situation that has divided and confounded foreign governments with an interest in Libya.

However, the front remains fluid and his fortunes could change again. Both sides have gained and lost territory within days or even hours.

If a ceasefire is called as demanded by the United Nations, the LNA would have still gained a considerable amount of territory despite.


Via Reuters

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