Clashes Erupt in West Libya’s Gharyan

Clashes Erupt in West Libya's Gharyan
Clashes Erupt in West Libya's Gharyan

On Sunday, violent clashes broke out in Gharyan, a mountainous town in western Libya, between rival militias. The fighting prompted the closure of the city’s entrances, a security source and a medical source told the AFP.

An official from the Gharyan Security Directorate also told the AFP that the clashes erupted suddenly, within the city during the early morning hours.

A medical source at Gharyan General Hospital confirmed four deaths, and reported over ten injuries due to the ongoing but intermittent confrontations.

As a result of these clashes, the entrances and exits of Gharyan were closed, out of concern for the safety of pedestrians and travellers. The city is, located approximately 100 kilometers southwest of Tripoli.

The Government of National Unity (GNU) led by Prime Minister Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba, which controls the city, has not yet issued a statement regarding the clashes.

In August, the UN Envoy to Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily remarked that the fighting that took place in Tripoli, underscored Libya’s pressing need for the establishment of unified, and accountable political and security institutions.

These incidents resulted in the loss of lives due to the clashes that occurred between the Special Deterrence Force (SDF) and the 444th Brigade.

About 55 casualties and 106 injured were confirmed due to these clashes. 234 families were evacuated from conflict zones, and three field hospitals were established to cater to the wounded.

Meanwhile, Buraq Airline announced the temporary suspension of its international and domestic flights from Mitiga Airport until further notice, citing circumstances beyond its control.

Recent developments have emerged in southeastern Tripoli, following the detention of the commander of the 444th Brigade, Mahmoud Hamza, by the SDF at Mitiga Airport.

The situation de-escalated after the dignitaries of Souq Al-Jumaa announced that Hamza would be handed over to a neutral entity, supervised by the Souq Al-Jumaa Social Council and the Four Districts. This also encompassed halting all military actions, returning units to their military barracks, and assessing public and private property damages, ensuring compensations are provided by the government.

Libya has been in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The county has for years been split between rival administrations, each backed by rogue militias and foreign governments.

The current stalemate grew out of the failure to hold elections in December 2021, and the refusal of Dbaiba, who is leading the transitional government, to step down.