On June 17, the Libyan Nation Army (LNA) launched a military operation to secure the strategic oil crescent between the cities of Ra’s Lanuf and Benghazi in northern Libya, according to Libyan sources. The LNA main task will be to recapture several positions inside and around Ra’s Lanuf and Sidra from the the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) militia.
In the first hours of the attack, warplanes of the Libyan Air Force (LAF) conducted more than eight airstrikes on the positions and vehicles of the PFG and its allies around Ra’s Lanuf and Sidra.
This is aftermath of #Libya National Air Force (#LNAF) airstrike against Seraya Defend #Benghazi (#BDB) terrorists in Ben Javad, Libya Oil Crescent District this morning. Majority of the areas which had been captured by #BDB/#PGF are now liberated by the Libya National Army today pic.twitter.com/6QVaTsfHUJ
— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) June 16, 2018
The PFG backed by the radical Benghazi Defense Brigades and mercenaries from central Africa managed to capture several key positions in the oil crescent on June 14 after a successful rapid attack. Back then, several Libyan sides including the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) condemned the attack.
From it side, the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) released an official statement on June 17, in which it called on the PFG to withdraw from all the positions it managed to occupy in Ra’s Lanuf and Sidra. The NOC also revealed that one of its oil storge tanks was badly damaged due to the PFG attack.
The PFG is clearly planning to turn the oil crescent into a base for illegal oil trade. However, this plan will likely fail as the LNA, supported by Egypt and the UAE, appears to be determined to secure the oil crescent as soon as possible.