Battle for Libyan capital intensifies, deaths rise

Battle for Libyan capital intensifies, deaths rise

TRIPOLI- Reuters
Battle for Libyan capital intensifies, deaths rise

Eastern Libyan forces tried to push towards the center of Tripoli on April 8 after their easy desert advance hit a tougher urban phase, with deaths and displacements mounting despite Western appeals for a truce and a return to a peace plan.

Renewed war in Libya - splintered since Muammar Gaddafi's 2011 fall - threatens to disrupt oil and gas supplies, trigger more migration to Europe, and wreck U.N. hopes for an election.

The eastern Libyan National Army (LNA) forces of Khalifa Haftar, a former officer in Gaddafi's army, said 19 of their soldiers had died in recent days as they closed in on the internationally recognized government in Tripoli.

The United Nations said 2,800 people had been displaced by clashes and many more could flee, though some were trapped.

The LNA has conducted air strikes on the south of the city as it seeks to advance into the center from a disused airport.

But the government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj has armed groups arriving from nearby Misrata to help block the LNA.

It reported 11 deaths without saying on which side.

The European Union joined the United Nations, United States and G7 bloc in calling for a ceasefire, a halt to Haftar's advance and return to political negotiations.

A contingent of U.S. forces evacuated at the weekend.

Russia on April 8 called for calm on all sides. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow was calling "on all sides to reject actions that could provoke bloodshed in battle and the deaths of civilians.”

Om April 7, Russia blocked a U.N. Security Council statement that would have called on forces loyal to Haftar to halt their advance on Tripoli, diplomats said.

 

 

Libya, Haftar, Turkey, Foreign Ministry