Air raids trap civilians in Libyan capital Tripoli
Over the past two days, the Libyan National Army (LNA) of renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar intensified its push for the Libyan capital, resulting in heavy fighting and shelling between the LNA and forces loyal to the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.
Haftar launched his campaign to capture Tripoli weeks ago, promising a swift victory that would bring stability to Libya for the first time since strongman Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2011. However, the offensive stalled two weeks ago and the GNA actually started to gain ground last week. The fighting has already killed 278 people and wounded 1,300 more.
While US President Trump recently endorsed Haftar, the United Nations has warned that the general may not be the savior of the Libyan people that he claims to be. On Monday, the UN envoy for Libya said that even though Haftar “wants to unify the country,” the general “is no Abraham Lincoln, […] no big democrat.” He also expressed concern about Haftar’s governing style, saying that “he doesn’t govern softly, but with an iron fist.”