Libyan War Report – Apr. 30, 2019: Haftar Forces Launch Push To Encircle Tripoli

The new battle for Tripoli entered its fourth week. Since April 4, when Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar officially announced its Operation Flood of Dignity, the Libyan National Army (LNA) has reached Ayn Zara, but has not been able to capture it and reach the city itself.

At the same time, the LNA has gained control of Tripoli International Airport and several nearby areas thus creating a foothold for further advances there.

Forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) have prevented the LNA from entering the Tripoli and launches several counter-attacks in the airport area and other parts of the frontline. However, they appear to have not enough resources to push the LNA back from the Tripoli countryside.

In this situation, the LNA leadership decided to re-shape its efforts and focused its military activities in the area southeast of Tripoli. LNA units have captured the village of Zatarnah and advanced on the villages of Laftah and Khallet al-Kahili. The goal of this effort is to cut off the road linking GNA forces in Tripoli with their allies in Misrata.

Both sides claim that they conduct successful operations inflicting large casualties to their enemies. However, in fact, the intensity of clashes at the most of the frontline as well as airstrikes by GNA and LNA warplanes remains relatively small. The main reason is the lack of resources, which had been drawn by years of chaos erupted in Libya after the fall of Gaddafi’s government.

In recent series of clashes, the LNA captured two battle tanks and a self-propelled artillery gun. Pro-GNA sources claimed that GNA forces had killed up to a dozen of LNA fighters.

Local sources continue speculating that the LNA may launch an offensive on the city of Sirte. In the first days of Operation Flood of Dignity, LNA units made several advances in the nearby area, but no large offensive actions were undertaken.

Over the past week, there have been reports that the LNA has been deploying reinforcements to the Sirte frontline in an attempt to exploit the GNA focus on the battle for Tripoli. Nonetheless, it’s unlikely that the LNA itself is able to deploy enough forces to carry out two major offensive operations in northern Libya simultaneously.

In the coming week, the LNA will likely continue its slow push south and southeast of Tripoli aiming to shorten the frontline where it’s possible to cut off logistical lines of GNA forces. In the event of success, it will gain real chances to capture Tripoli.

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