Libya’s U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord said Monday its troops have seized control of two western coastal cities located between the capital Tripoli and the Tunisian border from the Libyan National Army of eastern-based military General Khalifa Haftar.
Libya: Haftar's Forces Target Tripoli Hospital Again
"Our forces took control of Surman and Sabratha and are pursuing [Haftar's forces]," a spokesperson of the GNA Mohammed Gnunu, said in a statement.
The official added that their forces also “captured a number of Emirati armored vehicles, Grad missile vehicles, and 10 tanks.” Video footage purportedly showing the captured weaponry was shared on an official Twitter account.
Meanwhile, on Monday, the Turkish state-run newspaper Sabah reported that Turkish drones destroyed a brigade loyal to Haftar “while trying to escape Surman,” as well as UAE vehicles during the incursion.
The LNA, which is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), France and Russia, has been fighting off a year-long offensive over the capital, which is the last stronghold of the U.N.-recognized GNA of premier Fayez al Sarraj’s, who is backed by Turkey, Qatar, and Italy.
Footage shows our valiant forces seizing control of two UAE-supplied armored vehicles during our forces' advance in Surman on Monday.
The latest round of fighting comes amid a call from the U.N. for a ceasefire due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the virus spreading in the North African nation with 25 cases and one death, both sides continue to exchange attacks.
On Sunday, forces loyal to Haftar attacked medical warehouses belonging to the Al-Khadra Hospital in the capital Tripoli for the third time in less than a week. On March 6 and 7, shells also struck the grounds of the same hospital located in an area held by the internationally recognized government near a front line, injuring at least six health workers.
From 2014 and on, Libya has had two political power centers, the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli, that is having a hard time governing the capital city and some western areas, and another government in Tobruk, an eastern city which has remained under Haftar's control.
The North-African nation which has major oil reserves had been under foreign rule for centuries and gained independence in 1951. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi seized power in 1969 and ruled the country for four decades until he was ousted in 2011 by Western military intervention.