Renegade Libyan general Khalifa Haftar has claimed that his forces will “soon” capture the capital, Tripoli, even as they have been unable to advance for almost the entire duration of their offensive.
“The victory flag will soon be raised in our capital… the meeting with victory is so close to the goal for which so many lives have been sacrificed,” Haftar said in an address aired by local TV broadcasters late on Wednesday.
Calling government forces “terrorists,” he claimed, “We gained a victory over terrorists, their supporters and everybody who has taken up arms against civilians in order to make Tripoli a safe city for its residents and those who enter it.”
Heading a group of militia, Haftar launched an offensive on Tripoli on April 4 to wrest control of the capital, but his armed groups failed to breach the southern defenses of the city.
Since then, the fighting has left at least 1,000 people dead, more than 5,750 wounded, and over 100,000 people displaced, according to the United Nations (UN)’s World Health Organization.
The renegade general has defied a truce call by the UN, ordering his militia not to relent in their offensive.
Last Monday, Haftar’s forces announced another “zero hour” to seize the capital but they failed.
In his offensive, Haftar is supported by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. France also offers him some political support.
Libya plunged into chaos in 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi and his execution by unruly fighters.
His ouster created a huge power vacuum, leading to chaos and the emergence of numerous militant outfits, including the Daesh terrorist group.