28 August – 3 September: LNA launch assault to retake Ghariyan

Sep 4, 2019 | Libyan actors

On 26 August, the Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an assault on the mountain town Ghariyan via Ghout al-Reeh, but were repelled by anti-LNA forces from Zawiyya and Misrata, who were assisted by aerial attacks. On 29 August, the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) Interior Ministry claimed it maintained control of Ghariyan following two attempts by the LNA to retake the town over the last fortnight. On 30 August, the LNA launched another assault to re-take Ghariyan but were again repelled. The LNA has continued to undertake aerial attacks targeting sites in and around Ghariyan. The anti-LNA forces have allegedly targeted LNA positions near al-Asabea including the Chinese blocks close to the Judicial Police Prison, between Ghariyan and al-Asabea.

On 28 August, anti-LNA forces launched an assault on LNA forces along the Zatarna axis in south-eastern Tripoli. Conflicting reports claim LNA forces withdrew from their positions while other reports suggest the assault was thwarted, with 18 anti-LNA fighters being killed. On 29 and 30 August, heavy clashes occurred in Ain Zara coupled with aerial attacks and artillery shelling.

On 31 August, four projectiles struck Mitiga airport in Tripoli, damaging the runway and hitting a passenger jet operated by Libyan Airlines that was carrying pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia. This resulted in at least four civilian injuries, including two plane crew members. On 1 September, the airport closed due to the insecurity and four Libyan airlines switched their operations to Misrata airport instead, which is reportedly struggled to keep up with the influx of travellers.

UNSMIL condemned the incident. It said that it had dispatched an assessment mission to the airport confirming that four projectiles struck the civilian parts of the airport. The Government of National Accord also condemned the incident and accused the LNA of being responsible for the attack. The source of the attack remains unclear, with various reports attributing the incident to either LNA forces or members of the al-Bugra militia which is based in Tajoura.