Haftar forces announce capture of two oil exports

Haftar forces announce capture of two oil exports after launching new offensive
2 min read
21 June, 2018
Haftar announced a new offensive to "crush the enemy" moments before forces declared two key oil export terminals recaptured.
Heavy fighting has taken place around the oil crescent since last week [Getty]

Libyan militia leader Khalifa Haftar - whose forces dominate the east of the country - announced a new offensive on Thursday to clear a rival armed group an oil-rich region.

In an audio-taped order to his self-styled Libyan National Army, Haftar said that "zero hour has passed [to] crush the enemy", following a week of clashes with rival Petroleum Facilities Guard militia that now controls key oil exporting ports.

The fighting has led to major output losses for Libyam which relies on oil to generate income. 

Libya's strongman's forces followed it with an announcement that they had recaptured two key oil export terminals from the rival factions.

"Our armed forces have full control of the Ras Lanuf region," spokesman Ahmed al-Mesmari said, confirming that Haftar's forces had also seized the al-Sidra terminal.

Libya's National Oil Corporation demanded on Saturday the "unconditional and immediate" withdrawal of fighters loyal to Ibrahim Jahran - Haftar's rival in the "oil crescent" - from the Ras Lanuf and Es Sider terminals.

This followed a surprise assault on the oil-rich region. 

Heavy fighting has taken place around the oil crescent since last week with the LNA rushing in reinforcements to take back the ports and airstrikes launched to push back Jathran's forces.

Libya has been largely divided since the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, with a number of militias fighting for control of the country.

An UN-recognised government is based in the capital Tripoli, which is opposed by Haftar who controls the eastern half of the country.