The eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, has successfully completed the first stage of its operation to capture the Libyan capital of Tripoli, Gen. Ali Saleh Qahtani, the commander of the 73rd infantry brigade of the LNA main command, told Sputnik on Thursday.
“As for the progress of the military operation to liberate the Libyan capital of Tripoli, carried out by the Libyan National Army against the groups [loyal to the western-based Government of National Accord] and terror groups … and the Daesh* terror group, the first stage has been successfully completed,” Qahtani said.
The first stage of the operation entailed advancing the LNA forces and taking certain areas, while the second part included exhausting adversaries, taking full control over their positions and avoiding material damage and casualties, Qahtani pointed out.
Qahtani added that the “terrorist groups and gangs” currently occupying Tripoli “are fighting for personal interests for the sake of high positions and benefits.”
The LNA was waiting for the command’s order to begin the second stage of the operation, aiming to “liberate Tripoli and achieve the final victory,” Qahtani pointed out.
Since early April, the LNA has been engaged in an offensive to gain control over Tripoli. The Government of National Accord has been waging a counteroffensive to prevent the LNA from capturing the city.
Libya has been torn apart by conflict since the long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011. The eastern part of the country is governed by the parliament, backed by the LNA and located in Tobruk. The Government of National Accord, headed by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj, operates in the country’s west and is headquartered in Tripoli.