15 – 21 April: GNA launches assault to capture Tarhouna

Apr 22, 2020 | Libyan actors

On 18 April, the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) Volcano of Rage Operation and its aligned forces began an assault to capture the town of Tarhouna, which acts as the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) forward base for its Tripoli operations. The anti-LNA forces, along with aerial assistance from Turkish assets, have been pushing on Tarhouna in an attempt to isolate and capture the town.  They are also pushing hard to isolate the city from the southeast at Bani Walid, both through airstrikes and applying political pressure on Bani Walid to actively move against the LNA. On 19 April, the anti-LNA forces launched 17 airstrikes on Tarhouna, striking an LNA technical, while also claiming to have downed an LNA drone. The same day, the GNA dropped fliers over Tarhouna, in both Arabic and Russian, calling for civilians to distance themselves from fighters, to stop armed groups from being in residential areas, and for those in armed groups to surrender.

On 18 April, the GNA-aligned forces from the GNA’s Western Military Region under the command of Usama Juwaili, as well as forces from Zawiyya and the Amazigh town of Nalut in the Nafousa mountains, made advances on the Tripoli International Airport axis in southern Tripoli, taking control of the Twaisha area.

On 14 April, GNA-aligned forces and LNA forces engaged in intensive fighting at the Zareer checkpoint, located 13km north of Watiya airbase. Fighting is thought to have abated later in the evening. In the early hours of 21 April, LNA forces launched an attack on GNA-aligned armed groups at al-Aqirbiya, close to the airbase, though the attack was reported to have been thwarted.

On 12 April, the head of the Tubruq-based House of Representatives (HoR), Aqeela Saleh, requested that the Attorney General pursue legal efforts targeting the Governor of the Central Bank of Libya, Sadiq al-Kabir, in a bid to remove him from his position. Saleh criticised recent Kabir’s closure of credit to companies and merchants, and the pressure this has put on eastern and southern commercial banks.