The Government of National Accord announced in a press release on April 14, 2020 that it has retaken control of five strategically important costal cities. Surman, Sabratha, Al-Ujailat, Zalatan, Al-Jamil and Rikdalin lie between the capital of Tripoli and the Tunisian border from Khalifa Haftar's forces.
The operation is significant for two reason. First, it signals that growing Turkish aid, both lethal and non-lethal, has improved the ability of the government to conduct operations. Secondly, the move consolidates the GNA's entire coastline between Tunisia and Tripoli, as well as the main highways and service roads of western Libya.
Conflict has gripped the nation since 2011, when Muammar Gaddafi was killed in a popular uprising. The current conflict is the result of in-fighting between the Tripoli-based GNA, led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, and the House of Representatives allied to Haftar and his Libyan National Army.
Elected in a widely contested election, the House of Representatives appointed Khalifa Haftar as commander of the LNA. In 2019, Haftar launched a major operation to capture the Capital of Tripoli, and came close to doing so. The offensive, however, met strong resistance from local fighters supporting the GNA, and thus failed to accomplish its main objective. The Government of National Accord, led by Fayez Al-Sarraj, was established after several failed military coup d'etats failed to consolidate control of the entirety of Libya.
International actors, such as the UAE, Russia, France, and Turkey, have fueled the fire in the North African country since the beginning of the conflict. The United Nations has repeatedly tried, and failed, to reach an equitable deal to end to the conflict. It is estimated tens of thousands have died, and nearly 200,000 have been displaced over the course of the war.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.