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Country Risk

LNA suffers setback south of Tripoli

28 June 2019
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The Libyan National Army (LNA), a powerful predominantly eastern faction, appeared to suffer a major setback in its attempt to capture Tripoli, when forces aligned with the Government of National Accord (GNA) announced on 26 June they had captured Gharyan, a town 80 km south of the capital.

GNA fighters inspect weapons, including containers for Javelin anti-tank missiles, purportedly recovered during the capture of Gharyan. (Operation Burkan al-Ghadab)GNA fighters inspect weapons, including containers for Javelin anti-tank missiles, purportedly recovered during the capture of Gharyan. (Operation Burkan al-Ghadab)

Operation Burkan al-Ghadab (Volcano of Anger), the co-ordinating body for GNA-aligned militias, said the offensive took many days to prepare, with diversions being launched on other fronts. Airstrikes were carried out before a swift advance into the city, where its forces teamed up with a local ally called the Gharyan Protection Force, to take control of it with minimal losses.

Gharyan is on the main axis of advance for the LNA forces offensive against Tripoli that began in March and its loss could potentially cut supply lines to units that are still fighting further to the north.

Burkan al-Ghadab released photographs showing places in Gharyan, as well as weapons it said its forces captured during the operation. These included containers for Javelin anti-tank missiles and three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that it identified as being of Emirati origin. They looked similar to ones made by ADCOM Systems, a now-defunct company based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said in a press briefing on the same day that sleeper cells had helped GNA forces to advance on the outskirts of Gharyan but the situation was under control.

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