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Libyan government recaptures airbase from Haftar’s forces

April 10, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Libyan forces loyal to the national agreement government retook an airbase in the south of the country from forces loyal to the Tobruk-based parliament, led by military leader Khalifa Haftar, the Anadolu Agency reported yesterday.

The UN-backed Tripoli government’s Defence Ministry spokesman, Mohamed Al-Ghasri, said that the operation was carried out by a joint force composed of several revolutionary brigades loyal to the presidential council.

The operation started on Saturday with the aim of recapturing the airbase from Daesh and Haftar forces, which raided it on Wednesday.

Al-Ghasri reiterated that all the joint forces are loyal to the presidential council, noting that any other forces are “illegal” and “must be fought”.

Read: Libyan rights groups accuse Haftar’s forces of war crimes

Haftar forces seized the airbase in December. The site is out of service but contains weapon and ammunition stocks.

Libya has been wracked by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody uprising ended with the ouster and death of autocratic leader Muammar Gaddafi after 42 years in power.

In the wake of the uprising, the country’s stark political divisions yielded two rival seats of government, one in Tobruk and the other in capital Tripoli.

To resolve the country’s crippling political deadlock, Libya’s warring camps signed a UN-backed agreement in late 2015 establishing a government of national unity.

The UN-backed unity government, however, which Haftar continues to openly challenge, has yet to apply its governing writ across the battle-scarred North African country.