Libyan govt says it entered Haftar stronghold Tarhuna

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Turkey’s backing has helped the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) win a string of victories in recent weeks, ending an assault on Tripoli that led to battles in its southern suburbs and bombardment of the city centre

DOHA (DNA) -Forces loyal to Libya’s internationally recognised government said on Friday they entered Tarhuna, the last major stronghold of eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, capping the sudden collapse of his 14-month offensive.

There was no immediate comment from Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) on whether its forces remained in the town, a day after they were pushed from their last positions in the capital Tripoli.

Turkey’s backing has helped the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) win a string of victories in recent weeks, ending an assault on Tripoli that led to battles in its southern suburbs and bombardment of the city centre.

The GNA operations room said in a statement its forces had reached the centre of Tarhouna after entering from four sides.

“Our heroic forces entered the city of Tarhuna from four axes and reached the city centre … and they gave the Haftar terrorist militia a lesson they will not forget,” said Mohammed Gnounou, a GNA military spokesman, in a statement.

Abdelsalam Ahmed, a resident of Tarhuna, said GNA forces had entered the town.

Libya’s conflict is far from over, however, with the LNA still controlling the country’s east, where there is a parallel administration, and large parts of the south, where the country’s main oilfields are located.

The LNA is backed by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

The United Nations has warned that a recent flood of weapons and fighters to both sides in Libya risks a major new escalation.