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Haftar Maintains Upper Hand in Libya’s South

Haftar Maintains Upper Hand in Libya’s South

Tuesday, 12 February, 2019 - 12:00
Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Haftar. (Reuters)
Cairo - Khaled Mahmoud
Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar, based in the east, has successfully cemented his sphere of influence in the African country’s southern airspace as military units continued their advances against terror pockets there.

A jet from Haftar’s forces managed to intercept a plane on Sunday headed to the southern oil-rich region.

The Government of National Accord (GNA) of Fayez al-Sarraj, meanwhile, demanded the United Nations Security Council to mobilize to counter Haftar’s advances.

Hamed Al-Khayali, mayor of the southwestern Sabha city, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the GNA has nearly lost all control over the area.

“LNA forces now are deployed to Sabha’s outskirts,” he added in a note to Haftar’s growing and expanding sphere of influence.

Addressing the situation in areas controlled by the LNA, he said daily life runs smoothly, markets open early and stay opened well into nightfall. Traffic, people and institutions have maintained normalcy.

Khayali reaffirmed that the GNA no longer enjoys any influence in southern Libya and that it was only a matter of time before the LNA announces its total control over the area.

LNA forces have continued pushing deeper south.

For his part, the newly-assigned GNA commander of the Sabha military zone, Ali Kanah said that the Sharara and El-Feel oilfields have been secured and the force entrusted with their protection is capable of carrying out its task to the fullest.

For the time being, Kanah said that the National Oil Corporation (NOC) can lift the status of force majeure on Sharara oilfield if it wants to, denying that both fields are under militias control.

He also called on foreign companies to resume operations in the two oilfields, saying that they should demand the international community and recognized legislative and executive institutions to assume their responsibilities.

Khayali labeled Kanah a defector and called on him to rejoin Haftar’s forces and step down from the GNA.

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