UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Residents of Tripoli are divided over the offensive of the forces of Marshal Khalifa Haftar between supporters and opponents, but the battles raise the fear of all of them turning into a street war.
Heavy fighting is taking place south of the capital, where residents were busy on Monday in their daily preoccupations amidst the crowds and queues waiting for banks and gas stations.
Haftar’s forces on Thursday launched an offensive to take control of Tripoli, home to the internationally recognized government of national accord.
The two sides also resumed fighting for the fifth straight day south of the capital. The clashes have killed 35 people and wounded about forty others since the start of the attack, according to a new toll of the Ministry of Health of the Government of the Accord.
The Hafar attack is a major escalation between the rival authorities in the country, the Accord government headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, the internationally recognized Libyan National Army led by Marshal Hafter, backed by stable authorities in the Libyan east and a parliament elected in 2014 in Tobruk.
Residents of the oil-rich country face the chaos since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.
For many years, they have been suffering from a lack of liquidity, fuel, power cuts, sharp price rises and battles that reflect deep divisions that are undermining the country.
– “hard days” –
Like all Libyans, residents of the capital are now divided between supporters of the Hafar attack, which they consider “liberator” and those who oppose it and see it as a dictator in the future.
Walid Boras, a 31-year-old university student from Tripoli, confirmed his support for Hafter clearly.
“We support the (Libyan National Army) in the process of entering Tripoli, because the people of the capital are fed up with the actions of the militias and their encroachment on the inhabitants of the capital and humiliating them,” he said.
“My younger brother is fighting in the ranks of the armed groups (loyal to the Wifaq government) against the army (of Hefter), advising him that the time has come to hand over his weapon.”
Official administrations operate normally and schools and shops are open, AFP journalists reported.
However, the population began to buy supplies for fear of a lack of basic materials in the event of fighting to Tripoli.
The housewife is unique among the population who fear the worst.
In a shop in Tripoli, Farida pays a basket filled with food from water, milk, flour, pasta, rice, oil and cans in anticipation of “difficult days.”
“We must store all the necessary supplies for the family, especially when we have young children because we never know how long it will last,” she told AFP.
In the pharmacy, the same scene is repeated.
“For the first time, customers are required to buy large amounts of cough syrup for children, paracetamol and antibiotics,” said Suhaila Ali, a pharmacist. “These drugs can be purchased over-the-counter in Libya.
– “To take it and relax” –
For others in the capital, recent battles have raised their displeasure.
A man who refused to be named said he was in the shop where Farida was shopping “to get into Tripoli to take it and relax.”
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m no longer as interested as I was in the past … we are used to it but we are tired of fighting each time.”
At the gas stations, queues wait longer every day than in the past, especially the morning hours. Some residents of Tripoli arrive to fill their bottles with fuel.
Young explains that they are used for “generators” in case of power failure.
At a wholesale food store in Tripoli, Mariam El Hadi Omar, a widow with four children, buys supplies.
“The sight of the forces of Haftar (on television) frightens me … as much as it angers me and provokes me who considers its forces the Libyan national army … There is no difference between them and those who rule Tripoli, perhaps only the dialect.”
Maryam is especially concerned about the fighting reaching the center of the capital, where more than 2 million people live.
“The situation is becoming unbearable” in a city where armed groups have been imposing their laws since 2011, said Walid Mohamed, 38, an employee at a bank in the capital.
“To happen, the situation is tiring and must change,” he says.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.
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