By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli, 26 April 2015:
Zintani and Warshefani units linked to the Libyan National Army (LNA) are reported to have . . .[restrict]today to taken the Heera checkpoint 25 kilometres north of Gharyan from Libya Dawn following clashes there between the two. Separately, Dawn says it bombed a LNA convoy which had arrived at Gwalish, the town some 40 kilomtres west of Gharyan and under LNA control. It was also reported to have bombed the Zintan-controlled Wattiya airbase, but there was no damage.
They constituted the main military action in the area in a day that was otherwise quiet with both sides waiting to see if a peace deal in the area would be announced.
Talks between Gharyan, which supports Libya Dawn, and the opposition Zintani-Warshefana alliance have been mediated by elders from nearby Al-Asaba but were said to have collapsed overnight despite a separate agreement between the Warshefana and Misrata’s Zawiat Al-Mahjoub Brigade. Under this latter deal, the brigade have agreed to withdraw from the entire west-of-Tripoli area.
Misrata’s Halbous Brigade had already pulled out.
Under the Gharyan deal, the LNA is said to have offered to lift its blockade of Gharyan in return for the latter handing over its weapons and freeing military prisoners. Other points were that Gharyan would:
- Disband local militias;
- Hand over checkpoints to the LNA;
- Prohibit the wearing of military uniforms by anyone other than LNA members;
- Enable the police to return to work.
Reports of the talks collapsing are being linked to local pro-Dawn militia leader Adel Daab rallying forces in the town against any deal. In a televised statement he said that Gharyan would fight to the last drop of its blood.
It is not thought, however, that this will be the last word on the matter. Residents in Gharyan are known to be tired of the fighting and want a solution. In what may be significant, there was no representative from Gharyan at a meeting yesterday in Tripoli of senior of Dawn leaders to discuss operations on the western front, although this may have been due to difficulties in travelling between Gharyan and the capital.
There are, however, distinctly mixed messages coming out of Dawn about operations in the west. One of the aims of meeting itself was to discuss a truce in the west.
Many Misratans have already made up their minds on the matter.
The Zawiat Al-Mahjoub brigade, one of the main units in Misrata, today announced it was pulling out of the Warshefana area. In its statement the brigade said it had decided to do so because of the suffering it had seen. But in a warning to the Warshefana, widely regarded elsewhere in the country as still being Qaddafi sympathisers, it said that it would return to deal with anyone hoping to resurrect the former regime and they would be treated without mercy.
Misrata’s Halbous Brigade had already withdrawn.
The decision by both has drawn bitter condemnation from the city’s hardline military and political figure, Salah Badi. He has accused brigades from his city of betraying the revolution.
However, he does not have substantial military forces of his own and his influence in Misrata is seen as being on the wane.
For their part, the Warshefana’s aim appears to be limited and, like the Zintanis, do not intend to go into Tripoli despite reports from the commander of the Libya armed forces, General Khalifa Hafter, that the liberation of the capital is imminent.
Senior Warshefana commanders last week told a Libya Herald contact that under no circumstances would they enter the capital. Their objective, they said, was to secure the Warshefana district.
The promise, however, does not appear to include the Libya Dawn western suburb of Janzour, formerly part of the Warshefana-domimated Jafara district and which, until Dawn took over the capital last summer, contained a large Warshefana population. Many of these however, have since fled. [/restrict]