GNA Troops Apparently Capture Key Base from Renegade Libyan General
Forces belonging to or aligned with Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord have captured a key airbase some 80 miles southwest of Tripoli being used by renegade general Khalifa Haftar in a year-long effort to take control of the country. Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), based around the eastern city of Benghazi, began an offensive a little over a year ago that saw it capture key oil fields and cities to the south and east of the capital. The al-Watiya air base was used by aircraft under the command of Haftar, a senior military figure who withdrew eastward about five years ago together with significant military units, refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the GNA. The Tripoli-based government is supported most notably by Turkey, which has sent troops to assist, with some backing by Qatar. Haftar has the support of Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. The LNA has issued no official comment on reports of the takeover at Watiya, although affiliated military sources have reportedly spoken about a pullback in the wake of harsh GNA bombardments.