The city of Tarhuna, near Tripoli, was a major focal point for supply lines for Khalifa Haftar’s militias from Jufra airbase.

Libyan army seen in the city centre in Tarhuna.
Libyan army seen in the city centre in Tarhuna. (AA)

The Libyan army on Friday liberated the last major stronghold of warlord Khalifa Haftar.

Forces loyal to Libya's internationally recognised government captured city of Tarhuna near Tripoli on Friday, capping the sudden collapse of Haftar's 14-month offensive on the capital.

The advance extends the control of the Government of National Accord (GNA) and allied forces across most of northwest Libya, reversing many of Haftar's gains from last year when he raced towards Tripoli.

"Our forces are combing the city as no resistance is seen from Haftar's militias after their withdrawal from there," Mustafa al Majei, a GNA forces spokesman, said.

Al Majei added that "after combing Tarhuna, we will activate the national security directorate in the city along with the other security services there".

"This will take place in coordination with the Interior Ministry," he noted.

Tarhuna was a major focal point for supply lines for Haftar’s militias from Jufra airbase.

After retaking the country's main airport, the Libyan Army on Thursday announced the complete liberation of the capital Tripoli.

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In March, the Libyan government launched Operation Peace Storm to counter attacks on the capital and recently regained strategic locations, including al Watiya airbase, in a major blow to Haftar's forces.

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The GNA has been backed by Turkey, while Haftar, whose LNA still controls the east and oil fields in the south, has been supported by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

The United Nations has started holding talks with both sides for a ceasefire deal in recent days, though previous truces have not stuck. The GNA gains could entrench the de facto partition of Libya into zones controlled by rival eastern and western governments whose foreign backers compete for regional sway.

Turkish military support for the GNA was key to its recent successes. Ankara regards Libya as crucial to defending its interests in the eastern Mediterranean.

Libya's government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to the military offensive by Haftar’s forces. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies