Forces loyal to Libya’s Khalifa Haftar were pushed back Friday from a key checkpoint less than 30 kilometers from Tripoli, checking their lightning advance on the capital, a security source said.
Militiamen from the coastal town of Zawiya, west of Tripoli, retook the base after a “short exchange of fire,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
It was earlier reported that forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar reached a security barrier just 27 kilometers from the capital Tripoli late Thursday, according to an AFP journalist.
General Abdessalem al-Hassi, head of operations for Haftar’s Libyan National Army in the eastern region, said his forces had seized the roadblock without any fighting.
Haftar’s forces announced Wednesday they were gearing up for an offensive in the west of the country to purge it of “terrorists and mercenaries”, having seized key areas of the country’s south since the start of the year.
Britain requests urgent UNSC meeting
Meanwhile, Britain on Thursday requested an urgent UN Security Council meeting on Libya after the leader of forces in the east ordered his troops to advance on Tripoli, diplomats said.
The council is expected to hold a closed-door meeting on Friday following the order from Khalifa Haftar, a key player opposed to the government in the capital.