Fri, 10 Jul 2020

Forces loyal to Libya's UN-recognised government said Saturday they seized three barracks from fighters aligned with strongman Khalifa Haftar south of the capital, in an apparent new victory against their rival.

"Our forces have regained control of the Yarmouk, Hamza and Al-Sawarikh camps," south of Tripoli, said Mohamad Gnounou, spokesman for the Government of National Accord (GNA) forces.

Gnounou, in a statement, said Haftar fighters were fleeing, but GNA forces "continue to pursue" them.

There was no immediate comment from Hafar's forces.

Haftar, who controls swathes of eastern Libya, seized the barracks in October 2019, months after he launched an offensive to capture Tripoli, where the GNA is based.

Saturday's announcement comes days after Ahmad al-Mesmari, a spokesman for Haftar's forces, said his fighters would pull back from some positions south of Tripoli.

The withdrawal, he said, was part of a "redeployment".

Haftar's forces have suffered a series of setbacks since April when GNA fighters -- backed by Turkey, a supplier of drones and air defences -- ousted them from two western coastal cities.

And on Monday the GNA said its forces had seized a strategic airbase from the Haftar camp.

Haftar is backed by the United Arab Emirates and Russia.

Oil-rich Libya plunged into conflict after the ouster and killing of veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising, with rival administrations and militias vying for power.

The battle for Tripoli has left hundreds dead, including dozens of civilians, and displaced more than 200,000 people.

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