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French forces arrive in Libya to support Haftar in Benghazi

February 23, 2016 at 5:51 pm

Special French Commando forces have recently arrived in Benghazi, Libya, to support Brigadier General Khalifa Haftar and to provide support for military operations in the city, informed Libyan security sources confirmed.

In an exclusive statement to the Huffington Post Arabi, the sources explained that these forces are currently stationed in Benina Air Base, east of Benghazi, the most important military base for troops loyal to Haftar. Neither the number nor the size of the forces is known.

A common operations room

The same sources have said that a common operations room has been set up in order to coordinate between the France’s and Haftar’s forces under the command of Colonel Salim Al-Abdali.

Events escalated in Libya recently as a result of the refusal by the political parties to reach an agreement on the formation of a national unity government. Upon his return from the United Arab Emirates, Haftar announced the enhancement of military operations. He went on to announce, on Sunday, his seizure of Ajdabia, in the east of the country, according to statements attributed to the spokesperson in the name of Ajdabia Operations Room Akram Buhliqah, in addition to seizing control of the Al-Muraisah Port.

Haftar’s troops waged a military operation in Benghazi, 1,000 kilometres to the east of Libya, last Saturday in which 19 were killed over two days.

Haftar advances

Yet, despite that, the troops commanded by Haftar announced on Sunday that they had advanced and that they managed to regain control over Al-Muraisah Port to the west of the city as well as over Al-Hawari Hospital to the south.

In a video distributed by the Information Office of Libyan Armed Forces yesterday, Haftar said: “Victory is a precious thing, and there is nothing more precious than victory itself. Therefore, we must maintain this victory.”

Parliament to vote today

The internationally recognised Libyan parliament yesterday concluded its deliberation over the proposed national unity government’s programme and the profiles of its ministers. It will vote on whether to grant confidence to the UN-backed government today.

In a statement to AFP, parliament member Aisha Al-Aquri said: “Today’s session [Monday] saw the conclusion of consultations and hearing from the cabinet members… Tomorrow will be the day for the vote of confidence over the national unity government.”