first published on June 12, 2018 by Sean
The Libyan National Army (LNA) continues operations against the Derna Protection Force (DPF) – an alliance of Islamic militants, in its bid to seize control of the northern coastal city. Purportedly nearing its conclusion, the operation may cause another upset in the balance of power in Libya.
The LNA recently launched operations to capture the militant enclave of Derna on the northern Mediterranean coast. Libya’s eastern government loyal to the Libyan House of Representatives (HoR) is based in Tobruk and its military forces are under the command of General Khalifa Haftar. It is the strongest factions in eastern Libya and controls large portions of the country. It has purportedly been supported with military aid and airstrikes from several regional neighbor’s including Egypt.
Undermining recent U.N. efforts to support elections this year in Libya, the eastern government is not recognized by the international community or by the U.N. – which officially recognizes the General National Congress (GNC) based in Tripoli.
Politically divided between the HoR in the east and the GNC in the west, Libya has suffered from this lack of political cohesion and is plagued by regular terrorist attacks and violent clashes between militia’s. It is additionally a regular stop on the north African terrorist and smugglers routes and the militant enclave is under control of the DPF Islamist council -which has troubling alleged ties to al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State.
Only recently surrounded and cut-off, heavy fighting and widespread destruction of neighborhoods by airstrikes and shelling is intensifying shortages of water, food, medicine, and electricity. The capture of the city with a population of over 100,000 is allegedly nearing its conclusion according to the LNA.
The video below details some of this recent fighting on the streets of Derna and is from the fairly well-armed, though not particularly well-trained LNA’s perspective.