Libya + 1 more

ACAPS Briefing Note: Libya - Escalation of conflict in the northwest (26 April 2019)

Originally published


In April 2019 conflict between the Libyan National Army (LNA) aligned to the government in the east and the opposing UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), based in the northwest of Libya, escalated in and around the capital Tripoli. Clashes between the LNA, the GNC and their respective allied forces have affected 1.5 million people and displaced over 37,600. Around 90 civilian casualties have been reported, including at least 21 deaths. Key humanitarian needs include safe access to healthcare, and protection and shelter assistance. Migrants and refugees in Tripoli have been particularly impacted by the conflict due to their vulnerable status. Infrastructure, including water and power facilities, has been damaged. Severe movement restrictions have impacted civilian access to services, and humanitarian operations.

Conflict escalated on 4 April after Khalifa Haftar, commander of the LNA, announced an offensive on Tripoli where the GNA is based. At the time of publication of this report, the conflict has entered its third week.

Since 20 April, fighting has intensified. Use of more sophisticated war weapons including drones is reported, suggesting possible international support to the parties (REUTERS 20/04/2019). Initially, clashes were mainly in the southern outskirts of Tripoli and cities around Tripoli. However, LNA forces have been making advancements towards the centre of the capital and attacks have also occurred in more densely populated areas in the south and east of Tripoli (REUTERS 20/04/2019; REUTERS 18/04/2019; REUTERS 22/04/2019). GNA forces have been able to push back the LNA in some areas (REUTERS 23/04/2019). Frontlines are highly fluid. Overall, neither side appears to be gaining ground over the other (Libya Herald 12/04/2019). In addition to ground fighting, both sides of the conflict have launched daily air raids (Al Jazeera 14/04/2019). These have hit civilian infrastructure and densely populated residential areas (REUTERS 18/04/2019). Fighting between forces allied to the LNA and GNA, as well other groups who have been taking advantage of the chaos such as IS, in other locations further east and in the south of Libya is reported but these have remained scattered incidents until now (The Conversation 10/04/2019; REUTERS 18/04/2019).