An onslaught by eastern forces on the Libyan capital Tripoli encumbered in the face of strong opposition on the southern suburbs on Thursday and the internationally acknowledged government announces that it had taken almost 200 prisoners.
The confrontation between Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) and troops under the internationally-supported Tripoli government has killed around 56 people and compelled 8,000 to abscond their homes in the city during the last week, according to the information by the United Nations.
Occasional heavy gunfire and explosions could be heard as the LNA confronted the forces of Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj’s government around an unused former international airport and the Ain Zara district.
After cleaning up from the south, the LNA fell behind in Tripoli’s southern outskirts 11 km (7 miles) from the city center. Many locations have changed hands more than once.
Over 190 LNA troops were arrested, officials close to Tripoli, accused them of using teenagers. A total of 116 fighters were apprehended in Zawiya, a town west of Tripoli, and an additional 75 in Ain Zara on the southern outskirts of the capital.
In a prison in Zawiya, reporters witnessed prisoners, chiefly young men, some wearing civilian clothes, sitting on the floor of prison while others stood with their faces turned to a wall.
In Tripoli, officials brought families dislodged by fighting on the southern edge to shelter in schools. Red Crescent workers were moving rations in one school as gunfire could be heard in the distance.
Haftar’s pressure on Tripoli in Libya’s northwest is the latest turn in a cycle of sect violence and anarchy in Libya dating back to the 2011 revolt that toppled veteran dictator Muammar Gaddafi.