22 – 28 January 2020: Continuing clashes and LNA makes advances in West Libya

Jan 30, 2020 | Libyan actors

Throughout the last week, the Libyan National Army (LNA) made advances and gained control of areas in Abu Salim and Haddaba, in southern Tripoli. Minor clashes were reported in Abu Salim, Ain Zara, Ramla, Saedia, Tughar, Salahuddin, Habda al-Mashru, and along Airport Road.

On 21 January, the Government of National Accord (GNA)’s deputy ambassador to Tunis, Mohammed Mirdas, resigned from his position. He allegedly left his role over an internal GNA backlash over his comments in a media interview two weeks prior for criticizing the GNA for corruption.

On 22 January, several projectiles were fired at Mitiga Airport, resulting in flights being cancelled at the airfield.  The airport reopened on 23 January. However, on 24 January, another set of projectiles landed near Mitiga. On 25 January, an unidentified group launched projectiles that landed within the vicinity of the airport. One person was reportedly killed and another three were injured.

On 26 January, LNA forces clashed with anti-LNA forces from Misrata in a failed attempt to capture the town of Abu Grein (located strategically between Sirte and Misrata) as a part of a broader strategic move to open a new front moving towards Misrata. The LNA forces initially gained control of a checkpoint in Abu Grein, but were later repelled by Misrata forces. The LNA claimed to have taken control of the Qaddiya and Wadi Zamzam areas, some 100km south of Misrata.

The LNA spokesperson Ahmed al-Mismari confirmed the LNA’s assault on Abu Grein but stated the LNA does not believe the assault is a breach of the Russia-Turkey ceasefire claiming, “Our operations in the Abu Grein area are pre-emptive operations and a message to the militias”. The same day, the GNA’s Volcano of Rage spokesperson, Muhammad Qannounu, stated the GNA-aligned forces had successfully repelled the LNA’s assault on Abu Grein, Qaddiya, and al-Washaka areas.