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Eastern-based General Khalifa Haftar’s operation to ‘liberate’ Tripoli is in its third week ( MEES, 12 April ), but Libya’s aspiring ruler has little to show for it– his Libyan National Army (LNA) has been pushed back several kms from the outskirts of the capital.
But the situation remains fluid and heavy fighting is raging on. The battle for Tripoli has so far killed at least 264 according to the World Health Organization, with an upsurge in the use of airpower by the LNA and Tripoli-aligned forces.
Following a phone call between US President Donald Trump and Mr Haftar on 15 April, the White House announced the president recognized the 75-year-old general’s role in fighting terrorism and securing its oil resources – giving him a boost when other US officials had previously warned against the move on Tripoli. So far, Libya’s oil output has remained unaffected by the conflict, holding steady at around 1.2mn b/d. (CONTINUED - 154 WORDS)