Libya’s GNA retakes Tripoli airport from Haftar’s forces

Airport was closed in 2014 and overrun by troops loyal to eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar last year.

A wreckage of a burnt aircraft is pictured after a shelling at Tripoli International Airport
The airport had been under Haftar's control since last year when he launched his campaign to capture Tripoli [File: Hani Amara/Reuters]

Troops loyal to Libya’s internationally recognised government have taken control of Tripoli international airport, military spokesman for the Government of National Accord said.

“Our forces have fully liberated Tripoli international airport,” spokesman Mohamad Gnounou said on Wednesday. 

The airport has been closed since 2014 and had been held by the eastern-based renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar since last year when he launched his assault on the capital.

Since 2014, Libya has been split between rival factions based in Tripoli and in the east, in a sometimes chaotic war that has drawn in outside powers and a flood of foreign arms and mercenaries.

Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Russia, has been unable to make significant progress since early on in its campaign.

It still controls eastern and southern Libya, including most of the country’s oil facilities, and the city of Sirte, at the centre of Libya’s Mediterranean coastline.

Earlier on Wednesday, Russia’s RIA news agency said several senior Libyan officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Maetig, arrived in Moscow before talks. 

The announcement came a day after the UN announced that the country’s warring sides agreed to resume ceasefire talks.

The UN Mission in Libya said it hoped the new round of negotiations would “mark the beginning of calm on the ground”, especially to allow the country’s war-scarred health system to cope with a coronavirus outbreak.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies