12 – 17 December 2019: Khalifa Haftar announces a new ‘Zero Hour’ for his offensive on Tripoli

Dec 18, 2019 | Libyan actors

On 12 December, in a brief televised video on the pro-LNA al-Hadath TV channel, the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar announced a new ‘Zero Hour’ for all his units stationed in southern Tripoli. Haftar told his troops that “today we begin the decisive advancement to the heart of the capital.” In his speech Haftar said that his forces’ victory was inevitably and urged all those who had joined the militias and terrorist groups in Tripoli to withdraw immediately.

In response, Government of National Accord (GNA) head Fayez al-Serraj called Haftar’s speech the ”zero of illusions” and urged his forces and what he called the “17th February Revolution” fighters to stand against the LNA. Serraj also called upon countries that back Haftar to leave the people of Libya alone. GNA Minister of Interior, Fathi Bashaagha, described Haftar’s speech as “desperate” and said it indicated the imminent collapse of his troops. Commenting on Haftar’s video speech, the head of High Council of State (HCS), Khalid al-Mishri, said, ”The fight will be taken into a wholly different level in the coming days.”

On 15 December, representatives of Misrata’s Municipal Council, Military Council and other key political, security and business figures met and announced a general state of mobilisation for Misratan forces.