Libyan Rebels Led by Haftar Reject Ceasefire

Published August 24th, 2020 - 09:51 GMT
A file photo taken on June 18, 2020 shows members of the self-proclaimed eastern Libyan National Army (LNA) special forces gather in the city of Benghazi, on their way to reportedly back up fellow LNA fighters on the frontline west of the city of Sirte, facing forces loyal to the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). A surprise ceasefire announcement by Libya's rival administrations offers a glimmer of hope for peace, but analysts caution scepticism after years of violence and as multiple forei
A file photo taken on June 18, 2020 shows members of the self-proclaimed eastern Libyan National Army (LNA) special forces gather in the city of Benghazi, on their way to reportedly back up fellow LNA fighters on the frontline west of the city of Sirte, facing forces loyal to the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). A surprise ceasefire announcement by Libya's rival administrations offers a glimmer of hope for peace, but analysts caution scepticism after years of violence and as multiple foreign forces back opposing sides. Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), based in the west in the capital Tripoli, and Aguila Saleh, speaker of the eastern-based parliament backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar, each announced a ceasefire on August 21. The leaders, in separate statements, said they wanted to end fighting and hold elections, drawing praise from the UN, the EU and several Arab countries. Abdullah DOMA / AFP
Highlights
If al-Sarraj wanted a ceasefire, he would have drawn his forces back, not advanced towards our units in the coastal city of Sirte

Libyan rebels led by renegade general Khalifa Haftar have rejected a ceasefire announcement by the internationally-recognized government in Tripoli.

Ahmed Mismari, a spokesman for Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), told media on Sunday that the ceasefire announced by the government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj “is for media marketing.”

Sarraj had on Friday “issued instructions to all military forces to immediately cease fire and all combat operations in all Libyan territories.”

“If al-Sarraj wanted a ceasefire, he would have drawn his forces back, not advanced towards our units in the coastal city of Sirte,” said Hatar’s spokesman.

“There is a military build-up and the transfer of equipment to target our forces in Sirte,” said Mismari, pledging a response to any raid on positions of the eastern-based rebels around Sirte and the central district of Jufra.

He did not elaborate on a parallel call for truce issued by the rival Tobruk-based parliament on the same day.

Haftar — who is primarily supported by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, and Jordan — launched a military offensive in April 2019 to seize Tripoli and unseat the Government of National Accord (GNA).

The Libyan army, however, prevented the collapse of the Sarraj government with the help of Turkey, reversing many of Haftar’s gains near the capital at a later point in the counter-operation and pushing them back as far as Sirte.

Libya was plunged into chaos when a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

The country has since split between rival administrations based in Tobruk and Tripoli, each backed by armed groups and foreign governments.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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