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Zintan and Mizda announce support for Libya’s GNA, army forces move to liberate Asbi'ah from Haftar militias

May 21, 2020 at 4:00 am

People stage a protest against Libya’s renegade commander Khalifa Haftar as they climb on a Haftar’s armored vehicle seized by The Government of National Accord (GNA) at Martyrs’ Square in Tripoli, Libya on 31 January 2020. [BURKAN AL GHADAN OPERATION PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT – Anadolu Agency]

The two cities of Zintan and Mizda in Libya announced their support on Wednesday for the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), while the Libyan army continues to advance towards the city of Asbi’ah, south of Tripoli, to liberate it from General Khalifa Haftar’s militias.

On Wednesday, the National Board for Libyan Elders and Notables of the city of Zintan announced that their city will not be a haven for murderers and criminals from the militias of the coupist General Haftar.

The board confirmed: “Supporting the statements of the commander of the western military region, Major General Osama Al-Juwaili, and helping the fighters to achieve victory and erode the tyrants’ aspirations.”

The statement noted that: “Zintan (located 170 kilometres southwest of Tripoli) will not be a haven for the murderous criminals and aggressors fleeing their cities and villages. If they are in the city, we demand them to quickly hand over their weapons and leave immediately.”

“The symbolism of Al-Wattia air base has fallen when it turned into a den for the former regime’s cronies, and an incubator for the aggressors, killers and rebels. Aircraft were launched from this air base and killed civilians,” added the statement, explaining that “Al-Wattia air base became an epicentre. We praise its liberation and the citizens of Zintan were among the front-row liberators.”

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“We absolutely reject other revolutions than the February revolution (that toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011), as they are considered a rebellion and an attempt to steal the people’s dreams. There would be no dignity under the military’s control,” stressed the board in the statement.

In the same context, the city of Mizda, southwest of the Libyan capital Tripoli, announced its support for the government and the army in defeating Haftar’s militias.

“We announce our support for the legitimate GNA headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj and for Operation Volcano of Anger, through our continuous communication with the joint operations room led by Major General Osama Al-Juwaili,” affirmed Mizda Local Council in a statement.

The statement continued: “We declare that we are against the wretched attack led by small states under the rebel Haftar on the Libyan regions, especially Tripoli. We will support the government forces until the elimination of this malicious plant from the pure Libyan land.”

“We stand against those who try to undermine our aspirations and dreams of a free, sovereign and independent country under a permanent constitution and the rule of law through its military, police and civilian institutions,” added Mizda Local Council.

With this announcement, Haftar’s militias have lost one of the important supply lines that they were using to transport weapons and equipment to Tarhuna and Asbi’ah.

On Wednesday morning, the Libyan army announced its ongoing advance towards the liberation of the city of Asbi’ah, south of the capital Tripoli, amid violent clashes with Haftar’s militias.

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This came in a statement by Mustafa Al-Mujie, spokesman for the media centre of Operation Volcano of Anger, which Libya’s GNA launched to counter Haftar’s aggression against Tripoli.

“The army is continuing its advance towards Asbi’ah to liberate it from Haftar’s militias. The clashes are very violent,” expressed Al-Mujie.

He indicated that: “UAE drones have targeted concentrations of our forces at the entrance to Asbi’ah area, injuring two of our soldiers.”

Al-Mujie explained that liberating Asbi’ah is vital to increase the siege on the city of Tarhuna, as it is an important station to cut the military supply of Haftar’s militias, south of Tripoli.

Asbi’ah is the third city in the Jabal Al-Gharbi District that the Libyan army seeks to liberate, after Badr and Tiji.

On Monday, the Libyan army took control over the strategic Al-Wattia air base after expelling Haftar’s militias from it, in a significant victory in the western region.

The liberation of Al-Wattia air base is the second fall of a major operations room of Haftar’s militias in the same area, after the fall of the city of Gharyan in June.

Since 4 April, 2019, Haftar’s militias have been waging a deadly offensive to take control over Tripoli, the headquarters of the GNA, targeting residential neighbourhoods and civilian sites, killing and injuring civilians.