UN envoy: Impact of long Libya war on civilians ‘incalculable’

UN envoy: Impact of long Libya war on civilians ‘incalculable’

The effect of Libya’s nine-year war on civilians is “incalculable”, a UN official has actually stated, with rising casualties and nearly 900,000 individuals now needing help.

Yacoub El Hillo said on Monday a 55- point plan for ending the war in Libya – consented to by 12 essential leaders at a conference in Berlin on January 19 – has seen “major offenses” in the last 10 days with combating around the capital, Tripoli.


The protracted dispute is “significantly affecting civilians in all parts of the nation on a scale never seen before”, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Libya said in a video instruction to reporters from Tripoli.

El Hillo said “the increasing use of explosive weapons has led to unneeded loss of life”, indicating attacks on civilians and civilian facilities, particularly health facilities, that have doubled considering that 2019, resulting in at least 650 civilians eliminated or injured.

He mentioned a UN mine professional in Libya who said recently the country has the world’s largest unrestrained ammo stockpile, with an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 tonnes of uncontrolled munitions across the nation.

Libya “is likewise the largest theatre for drone technology”, El Hillo said, stressing “everyone has something flying in the Libyan sky, it seems”.

‘ Gaining time’

The Berlin peace plan backed a ceasefire, called for compliance with a UN arms embargo, and stated all countries must avoid interfering in the dispute in between the UN-recognised Federal Government of National Accord (GNA) and rebel forces led by renegade commander Khalifa Haftar.

On Friday, Haftar dashed expect a truce, saying there would be no peace until the “militias” holding Tripoli had actually been defeated. For its part, Tripoli demanded that Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) pull back 1,000 km (620 miles) to the east, something he turned down.

” Each time we have any sort of agreement … we always saw the same pattern,” stated Taher el-Sonni, the GNA’s ambassador to the United Nations.

” It’s more like acquiring time, then [Haftar decides to] just use force.”

A weak UN-recognised administration that holds the capital and parts of the nation’s west is backed by Turkey, which recently sent out thousands of soldiers and military devices to Libya and, to a lower degree, Qatar and Italy as well as local militias.

Haftar’s army is backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, along with France and Russia.

Libya has actually remained in turmoil given that 2011 when a civil war toppled longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was later on eliminated. In the mayhem that followed, the country was divided.

‘ Major escalation’

El Hillo stated that, at the end of 2019, more than 345,000 individuals had actually fled their homes and become displaced, consisting of 150,000 in and around Tripoli, given that Haftar’s offensive started last April.

More than half the almost 900,000 individuals in need of humanitarian assistance are females and children, he stated, and more than 30 percent are migrants and refugees.

” Unless we speak so candidly and honestly … unless we start naming and shaming, we will have the resolutions but the truth on the ground will remain terrible,” El Hillo said.

Experts state Libya’s contenders are readying for a long dispute as foreign weapons flood in, eastern factions close oil ports, and competing alliances wrangle over income from Africa’s biggest petroleum reserves.

” We are not delighted with what is happening now, however we have ways to intensify if the worldwide community does not listen to us,” said tribal leader Sanoussi al-Zwai, a commander with Haftar’s forces.

” There will be a significant escalation … If it comes to it, the world understands what escalation is,” he told Reuters news company in the main eastern city of Benghazi, without stating what an escalation would include.

Both sides are racing to rearm, receiving deliveries before and after foreign backers consented to impose the arms embargo at the German summit.

Haftar’s forces and their foreign backers have actually stopped fighter jet attacks on the capital but Western diplomats and experts say this is an outcome of enhanced air defences supplied by Turkey rather than an authentic desire for peace.

Syrian fighters sent out by Turkey have helped reverse little LNA gains, bring back the front lines to approximately where they settled simply after the LNA attack began in April 2019.

Quotes by diplomats in Turkey of the number of Syrian fighters differ from 1,500 to 3,000, while the number of Turkish soldiers was seen at between 200 and 500, including unique forces, traditional soldiers, and drone operators.

” Both sides are preparing for the next battle,” stated a Western diplomat.

Agents of the warring parties are set up to start a second round of talks on Tuesday in Geneva under the auspices of the UN with the objective of accepting a long lasting ceasefire.

Find Out More