No signs of ceasefire in Libya after 1-yr armed conflict

Tripoli, April 5 (IANS) A year after the armed conflict started between the eastern-based Libyan army and the UN-backed government for the control of the capital Tripoli, the fighting continued in Libya despite international calls for a ceasefire.

On April 4, 2019, the eastern-based army had launched a military campaign in and around Tripoli in an attempt to take over the city and topple the rival UN-backed government, reorts Xinhua news agency.

On Saturday, Ahmed al-Hesnawi, Libyan military analyst and retired army general, denied that the eastern-based army's military campaign has failed, citing it has eliminated “thousands of militants and terrorists and weakening their combat capabilities”.

He explained that the UN-backed government sought military support from Turkey after its forces were attacked and felt that the fall of Tripoli was “imminent”.

Since the Turkish intervention, “things on the ground have changed a lot,” he said.

The army in January agreed to a truce after international pressure, to allow the UN-backed government in Tripoli “to catch its breath after its fall was very close if it was not for the Turkish intervention”, al-Hesnawi noted.

The UN-backed government and Turkey signed two deals on military cooperation on November 27, 2019.

One of the deal was a maritime agreement that sparked controversy between Turkey on one hand and Egypt, Greece, and Cyprus on the other hand, over oil and natural gas exploration in the Mediterranean.

Mukhtar Trabelsi, a Libya specialist of humanitarian affairs, said that the war in Tripoli has brought Libya into a dark phase of unpredictable end.

“More than 3,000 people died and 10,000 wounded over a year, and more than 150,000 people have been displaced as a result of the military action taking place in Tripoli,” Trabelsi told Xinhua.

“Despite these alarming numbers, there is no chance for dialogue and acceptance to stop the war between the two parties to the conflict,” he added.

The expert pointed out that if the war continues for a few more months, half million people in the capital will end up fleeing their homes, which threatens to create an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe in Libya.

Libya has been suffering from escalating violence and political division ever since the fall of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011.



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