May 31 – June 6: GNA divides Libya into Military Zones

Jun 6, 2017 | Libyan actors

The Libyan National Army (LNA) made progress in southern Libya last week, evicting the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) from the Jufra airbase and taking control of the entire Jufra area, pushing the BDB north towards Sirte. Many locals welcomed the arrival of the LNA after recent clashes with the BDB and its affiliates in the towns of Waddan, Houn and Sokna. The strategically located Jufra airbase is now under LNA control, with LNA planes landing for the first time on 4 June.

Following the massacre of LNA fighters at Brak al-Shatti airbase 2 weeks ago, many former allies of the BDB withdrew their support, leaving them more vulnerable to LNA pressure. These withdrawals represent the collapse of the anti-Haftar alliance of militias, including the BDB, the Government of National Accord (GNA) aligned, Misratan-led Third Force, and other Islamist oriented militias in the western region.

On 1 June, the GNA announced the division of Libya into 7 military zones, naming new military commanders for these zones. This move was interpreted by some, including Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesperson Ahmed al-Mismari, as evidence of a new GNA plot to take control of the Oil Crescent. The GNA issued a statement on 3 June saying that the Oil Crescent will remain a neutral zone, controlled by the National Oil Corporation (NOC) and the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG)