On 14 December, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar called on his officers and soldiers to be ready for the offensive to ‘free’ Tripoli. An LNA spokesperson said plans to achieve this were already underway. However, it is likely that any attempt by LNA forces to take Tripoli by force will unite Tripoli’s currently divided militia forces (both pro and anti-GNA) against the LNA.
The LNA’s operation room in western Libya is situated in Zintan and led by Zintani Brigadier Idris Madi. However, the powerful LNA-aligned city appears to be divided over launching a new offensive in Tripoli. Both Misrata and Zintan military councils issued statements distancing themselves from Haftar’s announcement to seize Tripoli, stressing the need for peaceful political process. On 16 December, Libyan National Army (LNA) units were sent to reinforce the LNA-controlled Watiya airbase south-west of Sabratha and then advanced to within 20 km south of Zawiyya.