Forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) captured the strategic town of Garyan south of the country’s capital, Tripoli, from the Libyan National Army (LNA) in a surprise attack in the late hours of June 26.
Libyan sources told RT that GNA forces attacked Garyan from two directions and were able to flank the LNA’s positions inside the town with the support of Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles (UCAVs). Later, pro-GNA sleeper cells in the town began attacking army troops thus forcing them to withdraw.
Dozens of LNA soldiers were reportedly captured by GNA forces, while several others were killed or injured. The army also lost at least seven military vehicles.
“Our heroic forces imposed their control of the center of Gryan, the al-Rabitah Hotel, the town’s Hospital, all control centers in the town, and stormed the headquarters of the [LNA’s] Operations Room,” GNA forces said in a statement released on one of their offical Facebook pages.
By capturing Garyan, GNA forces have manged to cut off a key supply route of the LNA. Army troops in Tripoli International Airport are now being supplied via a longer desert road.
Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Mesmari, a spokesman for the LNA, confirmed that GNA forces had captured Garyan. However, he announced that the army began “a large-scale military operation to recapture the town.”
Heavy clashes have been taking place around Garyan since the early morning of June 27, as the LNA is attempting to recapture the town. The upcoming hours will likely be crucial for the fate of the strategic town.