Libyan rebel leader sends his forces against Tripoli

rebel leader demanded Khalifa Haftar said on Al Arabiya tv that his forces are facing the decisive battle of Tripoli. The libyan rebel leader Khalifa Haftar,

Libyan rebel leader sends his forces against Tripoli

rebel leader demanded Khalifa Haftar said on Al Arabiya tv that his forces are facing the decisive battle of Tripoli.

The libyan rebel leader Khalifa Haftar, based in eastern Libya, calling in a tv speech Thursday its forces to go into the central parts of the capital Tripoli.

Haftar said in a speech on Al Arabiya tv that his forces are facing "the final blow" on Libya's capital.

Haftar launched in april an offensive against Tripoli, but his forces were stopped in the suburbs of the capital.

Tripoli is controlled by the internationally recognized government of unity (GNA).

The american general Stephen Townsend, who leads the US Africa command, said last week that he is deeply concerned about Russia's enhanced role in Libya. He says that Russian mercenaries are directly responsible for a surge in fighting, bloodshed and destruction around Tripoli.

According to u.s. assessments, it was either private Russian mercenaries or Haftars rebel movement, the so-called Libyan Nationalhær, which shot down an american drone in Libya, in late november.

Russia denies that it is using mercenaries in foreign military operations.

Haftar claims that he is fighting to rid Tripoli of armed groups, which he claims is more or less islamist. He's got the support of Egypt and The United Arab Emirates, as well as Russian mercenaries.

Frederic Wehrey, who is affiliated with the american think tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, says, that the russians contribute with advanced weapons and præcisionsskytter, which has strengthened the morale of the Haftars forces.

- Haftar has got a really technological advantage, says Wehrey, who recently stayed in Libya.

Over 200 civilians have been killed and more than 128.000 have been displaced from their homes since april, according to figures from the united nations.

/ritzau/Reuters

Updated Date: 13 December 2019, 00:00

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