Haftar’s forces start withdrawing from southern Tripoli after loss of Al-Watiya airbase
Khalifa Haftar’s forces withdrew of parts of south Tripoli overnight, after losing one of their main strongholds in western Libya on Monday, in a major blow to their year-long campaign to seize the capital from the UN-backed Government of National Accord.
Haftar’s spokesman Ahmed Al-Mismari said their forces had carried out a “redistribution and repositioning in the battle fronts, disengaging from some crowded residential areas”.
On Monday, GNA forces took Al-Watiya airbase west of the capital after weeks of attempts, their biggest advance in a year that deprives Haftar’s forces of their only airfield near Tripoli.
After taking the base, GNA forces paraded a captured Russian-made Pantsir air defence system mounted on a truck, along with an Arabic manual.
Al-Mismari claimed the base had been abandoned as part of a long-planned strategic decision and that only old, obsolete equipment was left there.
GNA Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha said on Twitter that “Haftar’s chance of success is now effectively zero” following his loss of Watiya.