Khalifa Haftar (Magharebia News via Flickr/Creative Commons)

Haftar’s Forces Suffer Major Setback in Libya

Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) on Tuesday pulled forces out of sections of Tripoli following the loss of one of its major strongholds the previous day. Haftar, who controls much of eastern and southern Libya, has been waging a yearlong campaign to retake the capital, the seat of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). The LNA is backed by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, whereas Turkey has sent troops and, allegedly, mercenaries from Syria to the country in support of the GNA. The partial withdrawal comes after pro-GNA troops on Monday retook Watiya airbase, thus depriving the LNA of its lone aerial supply route to Tripoli. The GNA’s interior minister described Haftar’s loss of Watiya as a major turning point, adding that the former general during the Qaddafi regime now had “effectively zero” chance of overrunning the capital.

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