Battle of Tripoli Airport

The Battle of Tripoli Airport was a major event that took place during the Second Libyan Civil War. It began on 13 July 2014 as part of a series of operations dubbed "Libya Dawn" or " فجر ليبيا" by a coalition of Islamist militias whom led a coup d'état operation against the House of Representatives (Libya) due to the 2014 Libyan parliamentary election and a series of operations to recapture the Airport and political institutions to wrest control over the capital of Tripoli. The battle ended in August 2014 with the capture of the Airport and ultimately its destruction. The battle was fought between an Islamist New General National Congress and the Zintani brigades.

Battle of Tripoli Airport
Part of the 2014 Libyan conflict
Tripoli Airport.jpg
Tripoli International Airport
Date13 July – 23 August 2014
(1 month, 1 week and 3 days)
Location
Result

Libya Dawn victory

Belligerents[4]

Libya Zintani brigades

  • Libya Al-Qaqa battalion
  • Libya Al Sawa'iq battalion
  • Libya Warshefana battalions
  • Zintani Airport Security

Supported by:

Libya Libya Dawn coalition


Supported by:

Commanders and leaders

Libya Nouri Abusahmain
(President of the GNC, disputed)
Libya Sadiq Al-Ghariani
(Grand Mufti)
Mohammed Hadia
(Operation Libya Dawn Commander)

Shaaban Hadia
(LROR Commander)

BackgroundEdit

 
Situation in Tripoli mid June 2014; airport is further south

The Zintani Brigades had provided security for Tripoli International Airport since the 2011 War which overthrew Gadhafi.

After the defeat of Islamist politicians in the 2014 Libyan parliamentary election, the Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room and Misrata Brigades were faced with a largely anti-Islamist parliament. Their most powerful political ally, Nouri Abusahmain, was faced with an imminent loss of power, and they were likely to lose funding from the General National Congress. The anti-Islamist politicians who won the 2014 elections had previously tried to disband the Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room due to its attempted coup in 2013, and were able to do so after the election results.

CombatantsEdit

The New General National Congress coalition, dubbed operation Libya Dawn was composed of the Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room included the following groups:

The Zintani-led brigades consisted of the following groups:

EventsEdit

On 13 July the Libya Dawn coalition launched their operation to seize the airport. Many aircraft were destroyed on the ground. The operation received public support from Grand Mufti Sadiq Al-Ghariani.[25][26][27]

On 23 August 2014, Zintani forces withdrew from the airport. They claimed that they withdrew because they had been instructed to do so by the parliament. This was later confirmed by parliamentary sources.[citation needed]

AftermathEdit

In the immediate aftermath of the battle, large fires and plumes of smoke arose from 4 large kerosene fuel containers that were struck by rocket attacks,[28][29] polluting the surrounding grounds and the air quality.[30] Roads infrastructure on the exterior of the airport facility was damaged as well as inside the airport with mortar explosions and shrapnel.[31][32] Residential areas near to the airport were also damaged in the fighting, as some residences were used in the fighting as firing positions by all involved parties. Residential areas surrounding the airport were also damaged during the battle, mostly from light weapons 7.62x32, heavy weapons damage from zsu-23-2 projectiles, RPG-7 and on rare occasions larger damage from T-72 rounds. There have been reports of violations against civilians,[33] and GRAD rocket systems being used on civilian residential areas, with civilians caught in the crossfire despite many of them being displaced.[34]

The airport main reception and customs building succumbed to catastrophic fire damage after an intense assault was launched by Islamist Libya Dawn and Al Somood militias to capture the facility during the final days of the battle which resulted in the defending Zintani forces withdrawing from the airport.[35] The entirety of the interior of the reception building that housed offices and processing areas, containing flammable materials completely burned off, rendering the mail building unusable.[36][37]

The assault on the airport and deteriorating security in Libya, prompted UN agencies to relocate its staff to neighboring countries. UNSMIL "United Nations Support Mission in Libya" to condemn the violence and the destruction of Civilian infrastructure.,[38] resulting in the UN to reiterate its support for a civilian government within Libya and strongly condemned attacks on civilians and infrastructure by adapting resolution 2174(2014), including later placing sanctions on Salah Badi in 2018 for his roles in the assault on Tripoli Airport.[39][40]

More than 20 civilian aircraft were damaged or destroyed,[41][42] of which 13 belonged to Afriqiyah Airways and 7 belonged to Lufthansa. The Airport's air traffic control tower, radar, four major fuel storage containers, main customs and reception building and terminals were destroyed.

On August 6, 2014, Amnesty International, UNSMIL and OHCHR reported a civilian death toll of 214 and 981[43] injured due to indiscriminate shelling and violence inflicted by militias.[44][45]OHCHR and UNSMIL reported that:

UNSMIL believes that the casualty figures are an underestimate of the actual situation. ...Libyan health officials do not distinguish between fighters and civilians in issuing casualty figures, which makes it difficult to track the number of civilians killed in the conflict. This challenge is exacerbated because armed group members do not usually wear recognizable uniforms or carry distinctive insignia.[46]

Financial losses suffered by the Airline Sector in Libya were roughly estimated to be around $3.5 billion for the destroyed aircraft alone, in addition to huge sums in damage incurred on the airport facility amounting to an estimated $US 70 million dollars for 90% of the facility's destruction.[47] Libyan Airlines a state owned company reported that its losses amounted to $US 200 million reported by its Manager, Ahmed Al Qadiri in a Statement to The New Arab news agency.[48]

On July 13, 2014, The Zintani forces within the airport withdrew on Orders from the parliament thus ending the battle at the airport.[49]

On September 8, 2014, Human rights watch released a statement condemning violence by both main Militia parties and stated that actions taken by Militias may amount to war crimes.[50]

By April 2019, the non-functional Tripoli international Airport was captured[51] by the Libyan National Army and is used as a strategic staging ground for the LNA operation against Libya Dawn Islamist in Tripoli.[52]

The airport changed hands when Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) declared itself in full control of Tripoli after recapturing the capital's airport on 4 June 2020 with intensified military support from Turkish government forces, who drove Gen Haftar's forces back from the frontlines.[53]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c D. Kirkpatrick, David; Schmitt, Eric (August 25, 2014). "Egypt and United Arab Emirates Said to Have Secretly Carried Out Libya Airstrikes". The New York Times. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  2. ^ "Egypt prepared to take lead in ensuring stability in Libya".
  3. ^ "Terrorists and Extremists Fight Under the Umbrella of the UN-Backed GNA". Al Marsad. Al Marsad. 10 September 2019. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  4. ^ Daleh, Mustafa (August 25, 2014). "Dawn of Libya forces impose control on Tripoli". Al-Monitor. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  5. ^ "Libya airport takeover widens political split". Aljazeera English. Aljazeera English News - 24 Aug 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Military leader that burned Tripoli airport of the capital of Libya to cleanse it from "Corruption"". Al-Qalam Center for Research and Studies. Al-Qalam Center for Research and Studies. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Tripoli is Again Without an Airport Since Salah Badi's 2014 Attack". Almarsad.co. Almarsad news. 2 September 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  8. ^ Arfaoui, Jamel. "Who is Abdulghani Al Kikli?". Tunisie Telegraph (Tunisian Telegraph). Tunisie Telegraph 29-07-2014. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  9. ^ "5 points of information you didnt know about Ghnewa Al Kikli". Afrigatenews.net. Afrigatenews.net. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  10. ^ "All you need to know about "Operation Dawn of Libya"". AfrigateNews.net - Africa news portal. Afrigatenews.net. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  11. ^ "All you need to know about "Operation Dawn of Libya"". Afrigate News. Afrigatenews.net. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  12. ^ "Misrata leader in the Misrata battalion killed in Tripoli airport clashes". AfrigateNews.net. Afrigatenews.net. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  13. ^ "Turkey, Qatar accused of delivering weapons to Libyan militants". Egypt Today. Egypt Today. 17 June 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  14. ^ "United nations Security council report S/2014/106" (PDF). UN Security Council Report S/2014/106 (S/2014/106): 20/97 (67.). 19 February 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  15. ^ "Death Ships: The Chronology of Turkish Weapons Ships to Libya". AfrigateNews.net. Afrigate News. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  16. ^ Wehrey, Frederic. "Is Libya a proxy war?". Washington Post. Washington Post October 24, 2014 at 5:00 PM EDT. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  17. ^ "Libya, Militias burn down Tripoli airport after capturing it". Al Arabiya. Al Arabiya. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  18. ^ "Libya Qaqaa Batalion, Defending Tripoli from Hostiles". Al Sharq Alwast. AlSharq-Alwast, aawsat.com/. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  19. ^ "Libyan militias withdraw from the capital, Tripoli". BBC news Arabic. BBC News Arabic. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  20. ^ Libya: Security Situation report. US Department of Justice website "Justice.gov". 19 December 2014. pp. 14 / 76.
  21. ^ "Discover 6 information about Emad Trabelsi". AfrigateNews.Net. Afrigatenews.net. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  22. ^ "The Libyan National Army claims responsibility for bombing armed militants in Tripoli". Al Arabiya news. Al Arabiya News. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  23. ^ "Conflicting accounts of Libyan Tripoli raids". Aljazeera Arabic. Aljazeera Arabic. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  24. ^ "Unidentified aircraft bomb the "Dawn of Libya" forces in Tripoli". Aljazeera News Arabic. Aljazeera Arabic. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  25. ^ "Libya's highest spiritual leader banned from UK over support of Islamists". The Guardian. 30 October 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  26. ^ "Radical Cleric Al-Ghariani: Rebel Leaders Are Corrupt And LPA Is "A Lost Deal"!". The Libyan Address. 19 July 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  27. ^ Mustafa, Ajnadin. "Grand Mufti again backs Libya Dawn operation, calls Zintanis and allies "traitors"". Libya Herald. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  28. ^ "" A fourth oil depot ignited near the Tripoli airport" Arabic: "اشتعال مستودع نفط رابع قرب مطار طرابلس"". AfrigateNews.net. Afrigate News.
  29. ^ "Fuel Tank Blaze Near Tripoli Airport 'Out of Control'". VOA News. Voice of America. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  30. ^ Amara, Hani (23 July 2014). "Fuel tanks hit in clashes near Libyan airport". Reuters News. Reuters. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  31. ^ Sim, David (22 July 2014). "Libya: Burnt-out Planes Litter Runway as Battle for Tripoli Airport Continues [PHOTOS]". International Business Times. David Sim, International Business Times, July 22, 2014 13:22 BST. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  32. ^ Turkia, Hamza. "30 dead in Libya int'l airport attack (4)". Peoples Daily Online. Peoples Daily, Xinhua/Hamza Turkia. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  33. ^ "OVERVIEW OF VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN LAW DURING THE ONGOING VIOLENCE IN LIBYA 4 September 2014" (PDF). Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights OHCHR & UNSMIL. OHCHR - UN 4 September 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  34. ^ "Libya: Spiraling Militia Attacks May Be War Crimes". Human Rights watch. Human Rights watch. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  35. ^ "Leaded Video shows Salah Badi within Tripoli Airport on the day it was captured by Libya Dawn Forces". Almarsad.co. AlMarsad.co. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  36. ^ Masdar News, Masdar news. ""First pictures of the burning of the Airport caused by Extremists" " الصور الأولى لحرق مطار طرابلس على يد ميليشيات متطرفة"". Al-Masdar. AL Masdar News. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  37. ^ "Video Libya: Inside Tripoli's battle-ravaged airport". BBC News. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  38. ^ "UNSMIL CONDEMNS AND CALLS FOR END TO TRIPOLI VIOLENCE, SUPPORT FOR EFFORTS TO RESTORE CALM". UNSMIL.org. 16 November 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  39. ^ "United Nations Security Council Report". UN.org. United Nations. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  40. ^ Assad, AbdulKadder. "UN Security Council sanctions Salah Badi". The Libya Observer. The Libya Observer. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  41. ^ "List of aircraft damaged during fighting at Tripoli Airport, Libya". Aviation Safety Network. ASN.NET / Source : official sources. 31 August 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  42. ^ "Libya - On this day, corresponding to July 21, the Libyan aviation and air transport sector in 2014 received a severe blow by losing the majority of its air fleet owned by various airlines". Al Marsad. Al Marsad.co. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  43. ^ "OVERVIEW OF VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN LAW DURING THE ONGOING VIOLENCE IN LIBYA 4 September 2014" (PDF). OHCHR.org. OHCHR - UNSMIL. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  44. ^ "Libya: Indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas in Tripoli and Benghazi amounts to war crimes". Amnesty International. Amnesty International. 6 August 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  45. ^ Amnesty International Report 2014/15 - Libya (Report). Amnesty International. 25 February 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2020 – via UNHCR Refworld.
  46. ^ "OVERVIEW OF VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN LAW DURING THE ONGOING VIOLENCE IN LIBYA 4 September 2014" (PDF). OHCHR.org. OHCHR & UNSMIL. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  47. ^ Muhamed Juma; Amro Hassan (24 August 2014). "Islamist militias seize main Libya airport as conflict deepens". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  48. ^ "3 Years for planes to resume flight "3 سنوات لاستعادة حركة الطيران في ليبيا"". Al Arabi Al Jadeed www.alaraby.co.uk. Al Arabi Al Jadeed ( The New Arab) November 22, 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  49. ^ "Zintan "ordered" to withdraw from Tripoli by HoR". Libya Herald. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  50. ^ "Libya: Spiraling Militia Attacks May Be War Crimes". Human Rights watch. Human Rights watch September 8, 2014 10:49AM EDT. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  51. ^ Ucar, Mehmet. "Libya: Pro-Haftar forces seize Tripoli airport". Anadolu Agency. Anadolu Agency. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  52. ^ "LNA controls Tripoli international Airport - Live UA map war tracking". liveuamap. Live UA maps. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  53. ^ GNA 'regains full control of Tripoli' from Gen Haftar https://news.yahoo.com/libya-conflict-gna-regains-full-102854064.html