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Libyan government forces retake Haftar’s last stronghold in west

Libya’s government forces have regained control of the strategic town of Tarhuna in the southeast of the capital Tripoli, the last major stronghold of Libyan rebels under the command of renegade general Khalifa Haftar.

“Our heroic forces have extended their control over the whole of Tarhuna,” Mohamad Gnounou, the military spokesman for Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), said on Friday.

The GNA’s operations room also announced in a statement that its forces had reached the center of Tarhouna after entering from four sides.

Tarhuna was the main launchpad for the 14-month offensive against the capital that Haftar’s militias finally abandoned this week.

The Libyan government forces announced the full liberation of the capital Tripoli and its suburbs on Thursday after being besieged for more than a year by Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army.

Libya has been in chaos since 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Since 2014, two rival seats of power have emerged in Libya, namely the internationally-recognized government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, and another group based in the eastern city of Tobruk, supported militarily by Haftar’s rebels.

The strongman, supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Jordan, launched a deadly offensive to capture Tripoli, the seat of the GNA, in April last year. His forces, however, haven’t been able to advance past the city’s outskirts.

International attempts to bring about peace between the two warring sides have also failed