Clashes intensify in Libya, UN raises aid alarm
The fighting in and around the capital city of Tripoli has intensified and is not likely to abate in the near future. There are growing fears of it taking shape of a full-blown civil war. The UN envoy to the country, Maria do Valle, has raised an alarm about the possible shortages of aid and has asked the countries to scale up the humanitarian response.
The clashes began in the country after the commander Khalifa Haftar who is considered as a defector had ordered his self-styled Libyan National Army to seize the capital city of Tripoli from the forces of UN-recognised rival Government of National Accord on April 4.
Maria do Valle Ribeiro has urged both the sides to exercise restraint and has asked for a halt in fighting. He also acknowledged the aid partners should be prepared for all eventualities in case the fighting grew worse. “We are likely to see a confrontation of hostilities for some time to come. For that, we need to gear up and accelerate and increase our capacity to be able to respond.”
The total strength of the UN and other humanitarian partners has reached a figure of 21,000 in all. The OCHA or the UN Humanitarian Affairs Office has called for $10.2 m for covering the aid response by May 18. Nearly 32,000 people have been displaced so far as the fighting has continued into the third week. There is an increase in displacement every day which has also become a source of concern for the aid agencies.
In a new move, the government forces have started their movement towards the locations where the LNA are based especially in and around the Tripoli International Airport along the south-western part of the capital. It has been reported that there has been artillery fire throughout the night although the government sources said that their forces were not using any heavy weapons near the airport. Libyan National Army stated that it will further intensify its attack on Tripoli further.
The Tripoli governmental forces had driven back the LNA lately in the southern suburb of Ain Zara which became the main place of fighting. Ahmed Mismari, the spokesman of LNA has, however, denied that there has been any kind of forced retreat but instead said that the advance of his forces has been slowed due to the dense population in places where fighting was taking place. The fighting which is taking place is basically to control over Ain Zara and Azizyia which are two large towns near the capital Tripoli.