UPDATED: Thousands flee fighting around Libyan capital as Guterres condemns escalation, urges ‘immediate halt’ to all military operations

UNOCHA/Giles Clarke Children are the most vulnerable victims of conflicts. The UN and the Government of National Accord in Libya launched the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan seeking, $202 million to provide health support and protection for some 550,000 vulnerable Libyans.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

The UN chief António Guterres strongly condemned  on Monday night the military escalation and ongoing fighting in and around the Libyan capital, Tripoli, including an aerial attack earlier in the day by aircraft from the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) force, which closed the city’s only functioning civilian airport.

“The Secretary-General urges the immediate halt of all military operations in order to de-escalate the situation and prevent an all-out conflict”, said the statement released by his Spokeperson. “He emphasizes that there is no military solution to the Libya conflict and calls on all parties to engage in immediate dialogue to reach a political solution.  The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Libya stands ready to facilitate that dialogue.”

More than 3,400 people have fled fighting near the Libyan capital Tripoli in recent days, the UN warned, calling on all warring parties to halt military activities so that emergency services can rescue trapped civilians.

Earlier, the UN chief said the UN Support Mission, (UNSMIL), would continue with its work on behalf of all Libyans, from its headquarters in the capital, Tripoli. UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that Ghassan Salamé, head of UNSMIL and UN Special Representative, had met the head of the internationally-recognized Government in Libya, Faiez Serraj, on Monday, “with whom he discussed ways the UN can assist, with this critical and difficult juncture. As the Secretary-General said before leaving Benghazi on Friday, the United Nations remains available to facilitate any political solution, able to unify the Libyan institutions.”

“Clashes with heavy weapons are affecting residential areas, and an unknown number of civilians are unable to flee these locations”, said Mr. Dujarric. “We are calling for a temporary humanitarian truce to allow for the provision of emergency services, and the voluntary passage of civilians, including those wounded from the areas of conflict.”

In a statement released earlier on Monday, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Maria Ribeiro, reminded the warring sides of their obligations to protect non-combatants, in line with international humanitarian and human rights law.

Ms. Ribeiro’s comments echoed a Security Council plea for a ceasefire after Ambassador Christoph Heusgen, of Germany, Council President for the month, told reporters on Friday that the 15-member body’s members were “deeply concerned” over the risk to Libyan “stability”.

According to reports, at least 32 people have been killed and 50 injured since Thursday’s clashes between eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces and Government forces in the Libyan capital.

On Sunday, it was also reported that the Commander’s forces – the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) – had carried out an airstrike on a Tripoli suburb, followed by retaliatory attacks on airbases in eastern Libya by forces loyal to the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord.

UNSMIL chief Salamé, issued a statement late on Monday local time, condemning an “aerial attack today by LNA aircraft against Meitiga airport, the capital’s only functioning airport that is available for civilian use. As such, this attack constitutes a serious violation of international humanitarian law which prohibits attacks against civilian infrastructure.” Flights were suspended, and passengers evacuated, and there were no reports of any casualties.

Ms. Ribeiro’s comments on the deteriorating humanitarian situation, came as the World Health Organization (WHO) condemned the killing at the weekend of two doctors who had been providing “critically needed services to civilians” in Tripoli.

“It is unacceptable for health workers to be targeted during armed conflict,” said Dr. Ahmed Al Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean. “These doctors risked their lives to evacuate wounded patients from conflict areas, and targeting them and health facilities at such times, worsens the situation for civilians caught up in conflict.”

The fighting in and around Tripoli comes after the UN chief left the troubled country on Friday “with a heavy heart”, following meetings with Commander Haftar in Benghazi city in the east, and senior Government officials in Tripoli.

“I leave Libya with a heavy heart and deeply concerned”, the UN Secretary-General tweeted. “The UN is committed to facilitating a political solution and, whatever happens, the UN is committed to supporting the Libyan people.”

Highlighting the increased risk to migrants and refugees caught up in the offensive on Tripoli, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Maria Ribeiro, warned that it was “further increasing” the misery of all those “arbitrarily detained in detention centres”.

Echoing those concerns, the UN Migration Agency, IOM, warned on Friday that men, women and children “who are being held in often sub-human conditions…are particularly vulnerable” to the uptick in violence.

IOM Director General António Vitorino also warned that Libya “is not a safe place to return migrants who have tried and failed to make their way to Europe”, noting that so far this year, 1,073 migrants, among them 77 children, have been returned to Libya after interception and rescue at sea and placed in arbitrary detention.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Portugal: €4.66 million in aid for 1,460 dismissed workers and jobless young

Questions and answers: Commission proposes SURE, a new temporary instrument worth up to €100 billion to help protect jobs and people in work

4 things to know about the state of conflict today

Guterres censures terrorist attacks in Nigeria, pledges UN ‘solidarity’

Humanitarian aid: EU announces additional €35 million for Africa’s Sahel region

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: from cardboard beds to recycled medals, how the Games are going green

‘Bring to life’ precious moments caught on film or tape, UN agency urges on World Day

A renewed agenda for Research and Innovation: Europe’s chance to shape the future

What does global health translate into?

UN calls for shipping ‘propulsion revolution’ to avoid ‘environmental disaster’

From glass ceiling to glass cliff: women are not a leadership quick-fix

How COVID-19 compares to seasonal flu, and why you should take it seriously

First peaceful transfer of power in DR Congo ‘an extraordinary opportunity’ for advancing rights

A revolution, an ecosystem, an ocean: 5G is just the beginning

“The Arctic climate matters: to what degree?”, a Sting Exclusive co-authored by UN Environment’s Jan Dusik and Slava Fetisov

Terrorism diverts resources from ‘much-needed’ development to ‘costly’ security, warns UN envoy for Central Africa

The vital role played by logistics during humanitarian crises

Combatting terrorism: Parliament sets out proposals for a new EU strategy

The West and Russia took what they wanted from Ukraine

The issue of health literacy and how it affects European health policies

Financiers can turn the world into a dirty and dangerous place

‘Act fast and do whatever it takes’ to fight the COVID-19 crisis, say leading economists

Botswana has decriminalized gay sex. But, it’s still illegal in 70 countries

Emergency coronavirus research: Commission selects 18th project to develop rapid diagnostics

What’s going on in Chernobyl today?

End racist discrimination against Afro-European people in the EU

The ‘yellow vests’ undermined Macron in France and the EU

Practicing healthcare through a global lens

Falsified medicines: new rules to enhance patients’ safety

Is 2019 the beginning of the end for coal in Europe?

7 ways for businesses to capture the youth dividend

Algorithms are being used to convict criminals and decide jail time. We need to make sure they are fair

Governments adopt UN global migration pact to help ‘prevent suffering and chaos’

Powering through the pandemic

Our children’s career aspirations have nothing in common with the jobs of the future

The global economy is woefully unprepared for biological threats. This is what we need to do

Five-year low inflation for Eurozone and now Mario has to finally wake up the Germans

UN condemns ‘cowardly’ attack on Libya’s national oil corporation headquarters

More progress needed on reducing and redesigning agricultural support policies

Largest joint UN humanitarian convoy of the war, reaches remote Syrian settlement

How can we make entrepreneurship serve the greater good?

Disintegrating Tories will void May’s pledge for Brexit deal in seven weeks

Snowden is the “EU nomination” for this year’s Oscars

How can the EU hit net-zero emissions?

A Sting Exclusive: “Europe needs decisive progress for stronger cybersecurity”, EU Commissioner Gabriel highlights from Brussels

Turkey caught in a vicious Syrian circle bringing terror and war at home

The Fourth Industrial Revolution can close the digital divide. This is how

How speaking ‘parentese’ to your child could make them a faster learner

Sahel States need international support ‘now more than ever’– UN peacekeeping chief

Drinking coffee could help you live longer, research finds

Medical Doctors in Industry 4.0: pure science fiction

EU’s judicial cooperation arm, Eurojust, to become more effective with new rules

A Sting Exclusive: “On the road to Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement”, by Ambassador Katakami of the Japanese Mission to the European Union

“They are trying to make improvements, but of course they are quite slow for my generation”, Vice President of JADE Victor Soto on another Sting Exclusive

This architect explains why racist statues are no longer relevant and describes how to replace them

This one small change could transform education for millions

Veteran UN Syria Envoy to step down, pledges to work ‘until the last hour’ for peace


A Sting Exclusive: “Education in Europe, fostering skills development inside and outside the school system”

US, Russia oblige each other in Syria and Ukraine selling off allies

EU-Turkey relations: EU considers imposing sanctions while Turkey keeps violating Cyprus’ sovereignty

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s