GNU mobilises forces as clashes erupt in Ghariyan following return of Adel Daab

Oct 29, 2023 | Libyan actors

On 29 October, there were clashes in mountain town of Ghariyan, 80 kilometres south of Tripoli, between forces aligned with the Government of National Unity (GNU), including the local branch of the Stabilisation Support Apparatus of Abdul-Ghani al-Kikli (aka Ghinaywa), and those supporting Adel Daab, who had returned to Ghariyan earlier in the day after four years’ absence. Daab is a controversial former commander from the town who in 2014 backed the Libya Dawn movement but then in 2019 helped the Libyan National Army (LNA) briefly seize it as part of its assault on Tripoli. He was driven out of the town along with the LNA not long after.

Initially, Daab’s forces appeared to have taken control of the strategically important town which controls the southern route to Tripoli. Despite his previous support for the LNA, in a video statement he – along with Ghariyan’s security commander and several other supporters – claimed to back the GNU and the Presidential Council. However, in Tripoli, GNU Prime Minister Abdul Hameed Dabaiba quickly organised counter moves, appointing Abdussalam al-Zubi, the Misratan commander of the 111 Brigade, to lead a large joint force to retake the town from ‘outlaw groups’ that the GNU said were ‘terrorising citizens and confronting army units’.

The force included members of the 444 Brigade as well as units under the command of Abdullah alTrabulsi, the brother of the GNU interior minister Emad al-Trabulsi. It was supported by Turkish drone attacks and was able to take control of the town by mid-evening on 29 October. Daab and his supporters fled back south, reportedly to Mizdah, on the road towards LNA-controlled al-Shuwayrif, or Nasma, on the back road to Bani Walid. According to Ghariyan Hospital, the fighting left seven 7 dead and 15 injured from both sides.