27 Sept – 4 Oct: Sabratha clashes intensify

Oct 4, 2017 | Libyan actors

The clashes between rival militias for control of Sabratha, which began in mid September, have continued unabated since then despite attempts by different actors to establish a ceasefire. The conflict is between the nominally pro-Government of National Accord (GNA) Anas Dabbashi Brigade, which is the dominant force in the area, and the Libyan National Army (LNA) affiliated Anti-ISIS operation room. Clashes with heavy artillery are occurring on the western side of Sabratha and along the coastal road.

In the past three weeks, 26 people have been killed, 170 wounded and thousands displaced from the city centre. According to UNSMIL, at least five civilians have been killed and 12 others wounded, while most dead and injured comprised combatants. On 30 September, the Dabbashi militia gained a significant number of reinforcements from allies in Zawiyya, who arrived by boat led by the Zawiyya coastguard commander Abdurrahman al-Bidja.

In Tripoli, skirmishes took place between the Nawasi brigade, which secures the Government of National Accord (GNA) but is more closely affiliated with anti-Haftar Islamist factions, and Haithem Tajouri’s pro-GNA Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade (TRB). On 1 October, two Nawasi fighters were killed in a skirmish with TRB fighters in an area southwest of the city centre. The TRB later attacked another Nawasi position, causing the latter to deploy heavily armoured vehicles and tanks to the gates of Tripoli port and all along the coastal road in front of Abu Setta naval base, where the GNA is located.

Although the precise trigger for the conflict is not yet certain, local sources say it is a result of political rifts provoked by the new UN-led dialogue, which began in Tunis last week. The Nawasi brigade has reportedly been excluded from the talks, whereas Tajouri and other Tripoli militias have apparently been involved through secret talks.

Presidential hopeful Basit Igtet’s 25 September demonstrations in Tripoli proved largely uneventful, but he says he is now preparing for a new campaign against the ‘Saif al-Islam-Serraj-Haftar’ conspiracy facilitated by the ‘still born UN process’. Igtet is promising to bring down the GNA and the UN process by 20 October and create a new government in Tripoli.