On June 3, the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) announced a military offensive to capture Tripoli Airport from the Libyan National Army (LNA) and push the LNA back from the southern suburbs of the city of Tripoli itself.
GNA fighters and members of pro-Turkish Syrian militant groups supported by the Turkish military attacked the airport from the southern and western directions and in the evening of the same day took control of it. LNA forces showed very little resistance to the advancing Turkish-backed forces and even left behind several pieces of military equipment in the airport area.
“Our heroic forces have liberated the entire Tripoli International Airport, and our heroic forces are chasing the remnants of Haftar militias, which are fleeing towards Qasr bin Ghashir,” Col. Mohamad Qununu, a spokesman for the “Anger Volcano” operations room declared.
A day earlier, GNA troops ambushed a convoy of LNA forces behind the frontline in southern Tripoli destroying at least 3 vehicles. This became the first indication that the LNA defense was crumbling. The coordination between various LNA units was interrupted.
On June 4, the GNA and its allies launched an attack on positions of the LNA in Qasr bin Ghashir reaching the western vicinity of the town. More than a dozen drone strikes targeted the town over the past 24 hours. Pro-LNA sources claim that these strikes killed a number of civilians.
According to pro-GNA sources, 15 LNA members were killed in the recent clashes. Pro-LNA sources say that 7 GNA fighters were eliminated.
If Turkish-led forces are able to capture Qasr bin Ghashir, LNA southern positions in Tripoli will collapse fully and only Sidi Salih Airport and Tarhuna will remain as the main strongholds of troops loyal to Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
On June 4, Haftar arrived in Cairo to meet with representatives of the Egyptian government, one of the two key backers of the LNA, the other one being the UAE. Nonetheless, unlike Turkey, Egypt and the UAE do not openly employ their militaries to support their allies in the Libyan conflict. The further expansion of Turkey and the advances of Turkish-led forces deeper into central Libya could force them to change their current approach. In such a case, the Libyan conflict would flare up even further.