Armed Clashes Erupt in Warshafana

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Libyan armed factions fought in the western outskirts of Tripoli late on Friday and early Saturday as forces aligned with incumbent Prime Minister Abdelhamid Al-Dbaiba further consolidated their control over the capital.

Fighting took place in Warshafana, a district West of Tripoli that has been the site of repeated clashes throughout the 11 years of violence and chaos since a NATO-backed uprising ousted veteran leader Moammar Gaddafi.

A witness said that mortars were fired in Warshafana, a district of farmland, villages, and patches of urban sprawl between Tripoli and the western city of Al-Zawiya.

The clashes, along with a major pro- Al-Dbaiba group taking over a military headquarters in southern Tripoli, come a week after Libya’s biggest bout of warfare for two years, as several rival factions battled in and around the capital.

Last week’s fighting dislodged several groups that had aligned with Al-Dbaiba’s rival Prime Minister, the former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, who has been appointed by the eastern-based Parliament to Head a new government.

The standoff between the two men lasted for months, with Libya’s powerful eastern faction lined up behind Bashagha, while the numerous factions controlling Tripoli and the rest of the northwest were divided.

Following last week’s fighting, both Bashagha and Al-Dbaiba visited Turkey, which helped the now-divided western factions fight off an eastern military operation in 2020.

Turkey retains a military presence around Tripoli, including drones that could play a critical role in deciding the outcome of any major bout of warfare if it decided to back a side.

Last week there were unconfirmed reports that drones were used against factions backing Bashagha.

Diplomacy to resolve Libya’s crisis has faltered. Late on Friday United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, António Guterres, appointed a new Envoy to Libya but with the UN Security Council divided, it is unclear how much clout Abdoulaye Bathily will enjoy in the role.