By Moutaz Ali.
Tripoli, 29 May 2017:
In a move suggesting that pro-Libya National Army (LNA) forces are planning to move into Tripoli, the Zintan-based Special Operations Force says that it intends to oversee the return of 20,000 displaced residents back to their homes in the capital under its protection.
The force, commanded by Zintan’s Emad Trabelsi and part of the Thinni-administration’s interior ministry, made the announcement on its Facebook account page today.
“After three years of forcible displacement from their homes in Tripoli, 20,000 residents have suffered badly in terms of their standards of living. As a result, the Special Operations Force has decided, in cooperation with good people from Tripoli, to help them to return home and protect them,” it stated.
Zintan-based journalist Abdullah Rabu confirmed the plan to the Libya Herald.
Although the unit comes under the LNA general command, it claims that it is neutral in Libya’s current conflict.
“The Force reminds people that it has men from different areas of the nation and it confirms that it is not against any side in Tripoli,” it stated.
During the Libya Dawn war in 2014, thousands of residents fled Tripoli. The largest group were Zintanis but there several thousand others who also moved out fearing for their lives because they came from places opposed to the militants controlling the city.
The planned Special Operations Force action is supposed to take place over the next three days. It remains to be seen if its entry to the capital will happen and, if it happens, does so peacefully.