Libya: The infernal trap
FRANCE 24 brings you an exclusive documentary filmed in war-torn Libya by Catherine Norris Trent, Julie Dungelhoeff and Abdallah Malkawi. This special report takes you to the front lines of the conflict and to the heart of the huge migration crisis unfolding there.
Libya has been in turmoil ever since the 2011 revolution that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi and the latest battles in the civil war there are playing out on the outskirts of the capital, Tripoli, where the conflict has been simmering for eight long months against a dystopian backdrop of abandoned homes. A multitude of once-rival militias from the west are battling to repel an offensive launched by a strongman from the east, Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar.
It is a fragmented front line and the battle is patchy and uneven, too: At times, young fighters wearing flip-flops and baseball caps fire ageing AK47s, with no real advances or losses of territory for weeks at a time. At other moments, advanced technology threatens in the form of combat drones. Militia fighters accuse Haftar's forces of relying on drone strikes by the UAE and Egypt, while the commander of GNA (Government of National Accord, the internationally recognised government based in western Libya) fighters confirmed to FRANCE 24 that their side has received and uses Turkish drones.
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Meanwhile, caught up on the margins of this complex proxy war are up to a million people, mainly sub-Saharan migrants. Many are locked in detention centres run by militias or human traffickers. Even in the eight centres officially controlled by the GNA, they're not protected from the conflict. In July, 60 migrants locked in the Tajoura detention centre were killed when an air strike hit their hangars. And some migrants have told FRANCE 24 they had been conscripted to work for militias, cleaning weapons and transporting dead bodies.
Find out more about the complex and harrowing Libyan conflict in this report, which contains rare, never-before-seen images.
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