Libya: No let-up in battle for hapless Tripoli - The Libyan Report

Libya: No let-up in battle for hapless Tripoli

The battle for Tripoli continues with no end in sight over two months after the first salvos of the conflict were fired by forces loyal to militia leader Khalifa Hafter.Casualties are steadily mounting in the eastern and southern parts of the city, and as many as 90,000 people are estimated to have already been displaced, while tens of thousands may be trapped in their neighbourhoods, the International Red Cross said in a statement on Thursday.

The organization has expressed concern that because of indiscriminate attacks, it is increasingly dangerous for medical workers to help the wounded.

“Heavy shelling and airstrikes have become all too common since early April,” said Danielle Hannon-Burt, the head of office in Tripoli for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“Fierce fighting in the west of the country includes direct or indiscriminate attacks against civilians and their property. It also includes attacks against key electricity, water, and medical infrastructure essential for the survival of the civilian population, potentially putting hundreds of thousands of people at risk. Simply put: a wider escalation could lead to an irreversible humanitarian crisis” the ICRC officials said.

The ICRC said whether living near the frontlines or in calmer areas, people are finding it increasingly difficult to go about their lives.

Many desperately try to hold on to some degree of normalcy, even as blasts and shootings echo all around them.

Many more suddenly find themselves caught in the cross-fire.

Those who find a window of opportunity leave their homes as a very last resort, sometimes multiple times.

Heavy clashes have repeatedly shaken Tripoli since Libya’s unrest began in 2011, most recently in September 2018.

Tens of thousands of civilians could also still be trapped in their homes in several frontline areas in densely-populated residential neighbourhoods.

The ICRC warned that an upsurge in violence could have massive humanitarian consequences on the civilian population in the long-run.

Tripoli descended into chaos two months ago after warlord Khalifa Hafter launched an attack to capture the Libyan capital from forces loyal to the internationally backed government.