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Iran Press TV

Libya's unity govt recaptures two strategic cities from Haftar forces

Iran Press TV

Monday, 13 April 2020 5:34 PM

Forces with Libya's internationally-recognized government say they have taken control of two coastal cities between Tripoli and the Tunisian border from forces under the command of renegade General Khalifa Haftar.

Mohammad al-Gammoudi, a commander with the armed forces of the United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), said on Monday that the cities of Sorman and Sabratha have been seized.

The takeover took place after "six hours of fighting with air cover."

In a post on their Facebook page, GNA forces published images of Grad rocket launchers, 10 tanks and armored vehicles they said they had captured in the cities.

Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj also confirmed the success of the operation.

Mohammed Gnunu, spokesman for the GNA, said troops were pursuing Haftar's loyalists across the troubled region.

Haftar, who is primarily supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Jordan, led a deadly offensive to capture the capital, Tripoli, in April last year. His forces have been bogged down outside the city.

Fighting around Tripoli has intensified in recent days after the rebels breached a March 21 humanitarian truce that had aimed to allow a focus on efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The UN says hundreds have been killed and over 200,000 displaced since Haftar launched his battle for Tripoli.

On Saturday, the UN's humanitarian coordinator for the country said water had been cut off to millions of residents of Tripoli and surroundings in an "abhorrent" act of collective punishment. The water supply was disrupted by members of an armed group in an area 350 kilometers (220 miles) southeast of Tripoli which is under control of pro-Haftar forces.

Haftar has often rejected opportunities to make peace with the government.

Libya plunged into chaos in 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster, and later killing, of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Since 2014, two rival seats of power have emerged. The UN-recognized government of Sarraj, and another group based in the eastern city of Tobruk, supported militarily by Haftar's rebels.

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