Pro- & Anti- GNA Clashes East of Tripoli

Jul 12, 2017 | Libyan actors

On 9 July, major clashes broke out between pro and anti Government of National Accord (GNA) militias in Garaboulli, 30km east of Tripoli, after anti-GNA militias deployed forces with vehicles and heavy artillery to the area in a new bid to march on the capital and overthrow the GNA. In response, pro-GNA forces blockaded the coastal road, triggering clashes with heavy weapons in the area while GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj threatened the attacking forces with airstrikes. Local reports claim that similar threats were also issued directly to the anti-GNA forces by foreign warships. The anti-GNA group, led by former General National Congress (GNC) prime minister Khalifa al- Ghwell, are said to mainly compose elements from the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB), the Libyan National Guard (LNG) and hardliner Misratan militias including units under the command of Saleh Badi. There are also reports that Islamist political and military leaders evicted from Tripoli in May are organizing a new force called the ‘Tripoli Defense Brigades’ akin to the BDB.

Pro-GNA forces led by Haithem Tajouri, the commander of the Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade and the GNA’s Central Security Division, took the fight to the anti-GNA coalition, blockading the coastal road and triggering clashes with heavy weapons in the area. On 11 July, the GNA’s Ministry of Health said four people have been killed in the clashes, with two foreign workers among the victims. Local sources report significant damage to buildings from indiscriminate shelling. UNSMIL has condemned the Garaboulli clashes and the threat posed to Tripoli’s security. It urged no further escalation in the fighting. Intermittent clashes were ongoing at the time of writing this report but the situation appears to be going in favor of pro-GNA militias, at least for the time being.