Militias pushed back Haftar’s forces from checkpoint near Tripoli

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi Friday in a bid to avert renewed civil war as his forces advanced on the capital Tripoli to challenge the UN-backed government. The military thrust by Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA), which is allied to a parallel administration based in the east, marked a dangerous escalation of a power struggle that has dragged on since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. LNA forces on Thursday took Gharyan, about 80 km (50 miles) south of Tripoli after skirmishes with forces allied to Tripoli-based Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. But they failed to take a checkpoint about 30 km west of the capital in a bid to close the coastal road to Tunisia. An LNA-allied militia withdrew overnight from the so-called Checkpoint 27 in the Wershiffana region, leaving it abandoned in the morning, according to local media reports.