Libya’s Haftar Dealt Setback in Fighting West of Tripoli

(Bloomberg) -- Forces loyal to Libya’s internationally recognized government said Monday they’d seized control of a western town that served as a key military base for rival military commander Khalifa Haftar.

The capture of Sabrata was announced by Col. Mohamed Konunu, spokesman for the forces that back Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj’s government. The statement was carried on the military’s official Facebook page. Konunu also said they took the town of Sorman.

The securing of the cities, which respectively sit 75 kilometers and 60 kilometers west of Tripoli, the capital, marks a key advance by government forces. Al-Sarraj has been mired in a crippling war with Haftar’s Libyan National Army after the eastern-based commander launched an offensive on the capital a year ago.

Haftar, who is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russian mercenaries, already controls most of the country. Al-Sarraj is receiving military and logistical support from Turkey. The fighting had debilitating consequences for the North African OPEC nation, battering its oil output and stunting any efforts to revive the economy.

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