Libya strongman's forces confirm pullback from Tripoli
The forces of eastern-based strongman Khalifa Haftar have confirmed their "redeployment" away from the Libyan capital following the UN-recognised government's announcement it is back in full control.
On Thursday, the Government of National Accord said it had retaken the whole of Greater Tripoli, finally beating off an offensive Haftar's forces launched in April last year.
Haftar's spokesman Ahmad al-Mesmari said the redeployment was a "humanitarian gesture intended to spare the Libyan people further bloodshed".
Hundreds have been killed and 200,000 more driven from their homes since Haftar launched his assault, vowing to "cleanse" the capital of the "terrorist militias" he said dominated the GNA.
Mesmari said the redeployment was also intended to give a boost to the work of a UN-backed military commission tasked with shoring up a nationwide ceasefire.
"We announce that we are redeploying our forces outside Tripoli on condition that the other side respect the ceasefire," he said in a statement released late Thursday.
"If they do not respect it, we will resume military operations and suspend our participation in the negotiations of the military committee."
The United Nations' Libya mission said Tuesday that after a three-month suspension, the warring parties had agreed to resume ceasefire talks.
A military commission made up of five GNA loyalists and five Haftar delegates held talks in February, but the dialogue was suspended.
A January truce brokered by GNA backer Turkey and key Haftar ally Russia has been repeatedly violated.
Haftar is supported by neighbouring Egypt and the United Arab Emirates as well as Russia.
UN experts in April said hundreds of mercenaries from Russian paramilitary organisation the Wagner Group were fighting for him.
But last month, as Haftar's losses mounted, the GNA said Wagner Group fighters had withdrawn from combat zones south of the capital.
© 2020 AFP