The United States has decided to temporarily withdraw some of its troops from Libya amid uncertainty over the security situation amid a civil war and fighting in the capital tripoli, according to senior us military officials.
The Associated Press reports that a small number of U.S. troops are stationed in Libya to help local forces fight terrorists such as islamic state and al-qaida and to protect U.S. diplomats.
The head of U.S. Africa command, Marine corps' Thomas waldhauser, did not say how many troops would be withdrawn or how many americans would remain.
News footage has emerged of two U.S. navy transport ships, hover-type and emitting huge clouds of water, making landfall from the beach of janser, east of tripoli, and leaving with American troops.
In addition to U.S. troops, India has also pulled out a small number of peacekeepers. India's foreign minister says the country's 15 central reserve police peacekeepers in tripoli were evacuated on Saturday as fighting moved into the capital amid a sudden deterioration in the situation in Libya.
Field marshal khalifa haftar, 75, led a surprise offensive last week that plunged Libya back into civil war. Libya has been unstable since the 2011 uprising that toppled dictator muammar gaddafi. In recent years, the country has been divided between the east, which is the capital, tripoli, and the west, which is home to another armed group, and the east, which still nominally has tripoli as the central government.
According to the United Nations, salaj and haftar met in ABU dhabi in late February for their first meeting since November 2018, when they agreed that Libya should hold national elections. Ahead of next week's un-sponsored talks, however, Mr Haftar intends to sweeten his deal by seizing the capital and taking over the country's military.
The United Nations special envoy for Libya hassan salami says the United Nations has decided to hold a meeting to deal with the situation in Libya.
U.S. secretary of state John pompeo urged all factions to return to negotiations, saying "there is no military solution to the Libyan conflict."
The two sides are fighting at the international airport, about 24 kilometers from the center of tripoli. The airport was previously destroyed and rebuilt after a 2014 militia battle. Haftar said his forces had launched airstrikes against rival militias on the outskirts of tripoli. The militias behind the u.n.-backed national accord announced they would try to defend tripoli, vowing to retake all areas held by haftar forces.
A spokesman for the u.n.-backed national accord government forces, mohamed granono, said the counter-offensive would be like an angry volcano and would clear out any illegal aggression into Libyan cities.
Both sides report at least 35 people have been killed in the fighting since Thursday, including civilians. The UN migration agency says the fighting has displaced hundreds of people. The UN mission in Libya on Sunday called for a two-hour ceasefire in parts of tripoli to evacuate civilians and the wounded.
While the United Nations prefers to support a u.n.-backed national accord, the Libyan national army, backed by middle eastern countries like Egypt, the united Arab emirates and even France and Russia, is at odds with the u.n.-backed government.