On Wednesday, eastern-based forces fought with troops who are loyal to the Tripoli government in the suburbs of Libya’s capital, while thousands of residents started to leave their home in order to avoid the fighting.
The Libyan National Army (LNA) forces of eastern commander Khalifa Haftar stuck to their positions in the outskirts about 11 km (7 miles) south of the city center. However, steel shipping containers, pickups, and sand barriers with hoarded machine-guns blocked LNAs way into the capital.
Residents stated LNA planes droning Tripoli as anti-aircraft guns fired at them. On the ground, Haftar’s forces were fighting forces affiliated with Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj at the former international airport and in the district of Ain Zara.
A reporter in downtown Tripoli even heard gunfire and explosions, which carried on till late afternoon. The United Nations stated that not less than 4,500 Tripoli residents had been dislodged, most of them moving away from homes in friction areas to a safer place.
Early this year, the LNA forces moved out of their bastion in eastern Libya to take the thinly-populated but oil-rich south before moving to Tripoli, where the internationally-acknowledged government sits.
Libya has been divided and chaotic since 2011 ousting of strongman Muammar Gaddafi, who had governed for over four decades before collapsing in a Western-backed popular revolt.
From that time political and armed factions have contended for power and control of the North African nation’s oil wealth. After a battle for Tripoli in 2014, the nation got divided into rival eastern and western administrations associated with shifting military alliances.