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Gen. Khalifa Haftar, the head of the breakaway government’s Libyan National Army (LNA), gained control of two-thirds of Libya – including most border crossings and the majority of onshore oil fields – after sweeping through the North African country’s southern region in recent weeks, the Guardian reported on Monday.
The Guardian article came on the same day that the U.N.-brokered Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli declared a state of emergency in the north-central coastal city of Sirte following reports of LNA forces marching towards the region.
Statement - Fighters - GNA - Haftar - Forces
In a statement calling on all fighters loyal to the GNA to duty against Haftar’s forces, the Sirte Protection Force (SPF) affiliated with the U.N.-brokered government declared, “Any attack on the city will mean a declaration of war and its consequences will turn into a disaster.”
Haftar’s army reportedly claimed that their forces advanced on territory near Sirte, but the SPF issued a statement on Sunday denying the allegation, the Libyan Express notes.
Strongman - General - Leader - Government - Libya
The strongman general has surfaced as the top leader of the Tobruk-based breakaway government in eastern Libya making him the top rival of the internationally recognized administration of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj from the GNA.
With the alleged support of neighboring Egypt, Russia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and France, Gen. Haftar’s LNA — accused of war crimes by human rights groups — has conquered most of eastern and southern Libya, including the country’s largest oil field.
The Guardian reports:
A major military push south by the Libyan strongman Marshal Khalifa Haftar has left him in the ascendant, and possibly able with international backing to dictate the terms of a future Libyan political settlement, including presidential and parliamentary elections. …The push into the Fezzan region has left Haftar in control of two-thirds of the country, most border crossings and many key oil installations, including the...
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