Multiple UN appeals for a humanitarian truce have gone unheeded and military operations have intensified in tandem with the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.
They took a new turn with the announcement of Fayez el-Sarraj, head of the government of National Union (GNA), on March 26, of the operation “storm of peace”.
Today the balance of power seems to have been reversed. The GNA took advantage of the army of Khalifa Haftar.
Since the start of Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s offensive to conquer Tripoli in April 2019, the Libyan national army, the ANL, has largely dominated the Libyan skies.
The ANL strikes resulted in many casualties for the GNA forces.
Marshal Haftar’s army had the advantage, but the strong involvement of Turkey alongside the GNA, with the supply of hundreds of new generation drones seems to reverse the equation in the Libyan skies.
Since the end of March, a massive campaign of precise and well-controlled strikes has targeted the ANL’s positions.
In early April, in Abu Grein, following these strikes, the Libyan national army lost a dozen senior officers. The military operations center of Sirte was then targeted.
Last Sunday, it was the turn of the western coastal cities to give in to these strikes led by Turkish officers.
There was almost no fighting on the ground, and the ANL forces withdrew under heavy strikes at al-Watiya base, Khalifa Haftar’s only possession to the west.
This base has since suffered drone strikes and is now surrounded.
This major advance by Tripoli forces loosens the ANL’s grip on the Libyan capital and relieves the two cities of Zouara and Zawiya which were threatened by Haftar’s forces.
This advance by the GNA weakens the achievements of Khalifa Haftar. Tripoli, on its way, now threatens the city of Tarhouna which forms a rear base and supplies to the forces of the ANL in Tripoli.
Khalifa Haftar’s forces promise to re-attack to the west.
But already, the GNA wants to cut the road to the marshal’s external allies if they fly to his aid by evoking the political solution: no peace talks with him, repeat officials repeatedly in Tripoli.
The strong man of eastern Libya is today weakened by the Turkish intervention.