Libyan Army liberates Tarhuna from Haftar’s forces

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Forces loyal to Libya’s internationally recognised government have said that they entered Tarhuna on Friday, the last major stronghold of renegade military commander, Khalifa Haftar in the west.

It caps the sudden collapse of Haftar’s 14-month offensive on the capital.

Haftar’s self-style Libyan National Army (LNA) was pushed from its last positions in Tripoli a day earlier, the latest in a series of battlefield defeats.

The city’s loss was a major blow to the LNA as Tarhuna was the main launchpad for the offensive against the capital.

Turkey’s backing has helped the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) win a string of victories in recent weeks, ending the assault on Tripoli that led to battles in its southern suburbs and the bombardment of the city centre.

The GNA operations room said its forces had reached the centre of Tarhuna after entering from four sides.

“Our heroic forces entered the city of Tarhuna from four axes and reached the city centre … and they gave the Haftar terrorist militia a lesson they will not forget,” said Mohammed Gnounou, a GNA military spokesman, in a statement.

Libya’s conflict is far from over, however, with the LNA still controlling the country’s east, where there is a parallel administration, and large parts of the south, where the main oilfields are located.

The LNA is backed by Russia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt. The United Nations has warned a recent flood of weapons and fighters to both sides in Libya risks a major new escalation.

GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj vowed his government would take control over all of Libya.

“Our fight continues and we are determined to defeat the enemy, impose state control on the whole of the homeland and destroy all those who jeopardise the construction of a civil, democratic and modern state,” al-Sarraj said after talks with Turkish officials in Ankara.