The leader of forces opposed to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) Sunday ordered the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) to step up fighting during the month of Ramadan, which has started this Monday, in their drive to seize capital Tripoli.
Khalifa Haftar on an audiotape released by LNA spokesman ordered the east-based forces to use the holy month of Ramadan to inflict greater and harder losses to GNA-linked forces who have resisted Haftar’s early April-declared offensive on Tripoli.
“Officers and soldiers in our armed forces and the auxiliary forces, I salute you in this glorious days and urge you with your strength and determination to teach the enemy a greater and bigger lesson than the previous ones, as we’ve always known you to do, till we uproot it from our beloved land,” Haftar said.
The eastern commander considers his war on the GNA as a campaign against terrorism and therefore a “holy war”.
The offensive has been facing fierce opposition on the southern outskirts of the capital where GNA forces have managed to resist. The LNA has reportedly made gains on the eastern front by capturing some settlements.
Haftar’s new call flies in the face of the UN, which urged for truce as of Monday.
The fighting caused the death of at least of 300 people according to UN figures and are not expected to abate soon.
Last week, GNA forces called on Turkey to provide them support, according to London-based Asharq al-Awsat.
Haftar has been receiving support from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt while the GNA is backed by Turkey and Qatar.
The Arab League last month criticized the interference of foreign countries into Libyan affairs.
Libya has become a lawless country since 2011, following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.