Daily reports of the « Oil Crescent » War in Libya

Friday 3 March:

The so-called Saraya Defend Benghazi (SDB) group launches « Back to Benghazi ». This operation’s goal is to bring back the families who fled Benghazi under the Libyan National Army.

Convoys belonging to SDB, Katiba 19/9, Al-Farouq Brigade, Petroleum Facilities Guard, Al Marsa Brigade left Jufrah district towards Ras Lanuf.

On the first day, Boshra – Saraya Defend Benghazi’s media, claimed to have taken control of several cities such as Ras Lanuf, As Sidr, Ben Jawad and Nawfaliya. Meanwhile, Mi-23BN and a Mi-35 were carrying out airstrikes against a convoy in south of Nawfaliya according to their official account.

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 18.36.25
Boshra News

SDB seized a Mi-35, ammunitions and ten armed vehicles belonging to LNA during the battle of Friday. Osama Jadhran, the brother of Ibrahim, has been taken photos of in Ras Lanuf airport.

The 152th motorized infantry Battalion took control of Ras Lanuf airport and afterwards withdrew, following orders to let space for the airstrikes. According to reports, the clashes were near El Agheila. LNA destroyed the Mi-35 according to one of their officials. During the first press conference, Colonel Ahmed al Mismari, LNA spokesman, announced a new operation to retake the Oil Crescent, called « Lighting Bolt ».

Saraya Defend Benghazi and their allies received support from other groups via statements published on social networks.

Meanwhile, LNA declared general alert and announced its readiness to engage in a *new war* against those who are trying to target oil facilities. The President Council released a statement saying it has no connection to the military escalation in the oil crescent and the Defense Ministry (GNA) called for a ceasefire. The House of Representatives (HoR) published a statement asking UN to classify militias that attack Oil Crescent as terrorist.

Casualties :

LNA: 16 killed   SDB: No reliable information

Saturday 4 March: 

During the night of Friday to Saturday, LNA AF targeted a car belonging to SDB in front of Ras Lanuf Hospital, causing damages inside the hospital as well as in the city of As Sidr. LNA troops withdrew from Ajdabiya and Brega, while in the meantime the airforce intensified its airstrikes against SDB and allies in Ras Lanuf (near the desalination plant), south of Nawfaliya.

Boshra media published a video on social networks, showing LNA prisoners. According to pro-SDB account on social network, anti-LNA coalition repelled the offensive until El Agheila, between Ras Lanuf and Brega.

03:04:17
Pro-SDB media

National Oil Corporation, National Salvation Government recorded this event via official statements regarding the Oil Crescent.

LNA received support from the 101, 106, 115 Battalions and the martyrs brigade from Az Zawiyah to fight SDB in Oil Crescent.

Casualties since Friday 03/03/17:

LNA: No reliable information   SDB: No reliable information

 Sunday 5 March:

The 21st infantry battalion clashed against SDB and allies in south of Ben Jawad. Reinforcement from Benghazi to Ajdabiya was reported by activists. Al Sawai’q Brigade led by Isam al-Trabulsi arrived to reinforce LNA. Ajdabiya municipality starts arming civilian residents, as Defend Benghazi Brigades advanced eastward. LNA carried out airstrikes in Ras Lanuf and As Sidr.

SDB and allies seized a Panthera T6 APC, armed vehicle – anti-aircraft type 23, 6 tanks, BMB and weapons / ammunitions from LNA, according to Boshra media.

Ahmed al Tagouri spoke in a video confirming the control of Ras Lanuf harbour by SDB.

An official account of LNA published the list of units directly involved in the Oil Crescent war – 131 infantry battalion, 210th mechanized infantry battalion, 302nd battalion, 106th battalion, battalion led by Abdul-Rahman Hashem, 152th motorized infantry battalion, 21th infantry battalion, 12th infantry brigade and 153th infantry battalion.

Map of the situation according to pro-SDB account, El Agheila and Bashir disputed between Libyan National Army and SDB / allies.

Map 03:05:17:

LNA units stationed at the East of Sirte and started also an offensive to regain positions. Al Burki Brigade from Tripoli, recognized the death of one of its fighter in Oil Crescent; they fought alongside SDB / allies. According to National Salvation Government, LNA withdrew in Ajdabiya.

Security forces belonging to the Libyan National Army arrested 20 persons, mostly from al Magharba tribe, accused of being traitors in Brega.

The 309th infantry battalion and the 276th battalion joined LNA in Ajdabiya.

Casualties since Friday 03/03/17:

LNA: No reliable information   SDB: No reliable information

Monday 6 March:

LNA AF targeted a « metal shop » and « repair shop » near Nawfaliya, as reported by Boshra. LNA also claims to have targeted As Sidr and the south of Ben Jawad.

The major event recorded was the press conference held by Mustafa Al-Shirksi, SDB spokesman, who confirmed the control from Nawfaliya to Bashir, saying also that they have a special unit for air defence. He added that the anti-LNA coalition will hand over oil facilities to PFG, loyal to President Council led by Idriss Saleh Abu Khamada.

Boshra published a series of photos with vehicles seized from LNA.

Statements released by HoR, Benghazi municipality affirm the return of internally displaced people. The Libyan National Army received additional support from units across Libya like this one loyal to Cheikh Abdul-Rahman Hashem from Kufrah region.

Casualties since Friday 03/03/17: 

LNA: No reliable information   SDB: 2 killed and 4 injured, no more information

Tuesday 7 March:

Libyan National Army Air Force renewed airstrikes against SDB and allies in Ras Lanuf, As Sidr and Nawfaliya. Anti-LNA coalition confirmed control from Nawfaliya to « beyond » Ras Lanuf.

According to reports, at least 30 LNA fighters were killed since the beginning of the offensive in the Oil Crescent. 

In response to the SDB / allies offensive in Oil Crescent, the HoR voted to overrule Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) signed in Skhirat in December 2015.

The Operation Room of Sirte (LNA) continues to receive support – vehicles and fighters – from the 106th battalion, 276th battalion, 298th battalion and Martyr Ali Othman Brigade – a Tebu Brigade. Elders and notables from eastern region confirmed support of LNA and denounced « occupation in Oil Crescent ».

Petroleum Facilities Guard, loyal to GNA, took control of Ras Lanuf and As Sidr oil ports. According to Idriss Saleh Abu Khamada, head of PFG PC, they will, only, protect the oil facilities in coordination with NOC. Saraya Defend Benghazi called upon the institution to assume « full responsibility » on the facilities. The President Council of the Government National Accord confirmed afterwards the protection led by PFG PC via a statement

Boshra published a message threatening to end negotiations with LNA, if they do not stop airstrikes in Ganfouda district, Benghazi. 

During the press conference, Colonel Ahmed Al-Mismari, LNA spokesman, said that they’re monitoring the movements near Sirte and LNA AF is ready to strike there. He confirmed the arrestation of sleeper cells linked with SDB.

Casualties since Friday 03/03/17:

LNA: 31 killed   SDB: 2 killed and 4 injured.

Wednesday 8 March: 

LNA AF carried out airstrikes against SDB and allies in south of El Agheila. They also declared an area from Brega to Sirte as military area and introduced a curfew from 7 pm to 8 am in the Oil Crescent.

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 13.53.28

To this day, at least 19 Brigades support the « army » operation to retake the oil facilities. Some rumours regarding a third offensive led by LNA.

In a video, Al Sadiq Abd-Alrahman Ali Al Ghariani called to support the SDB operation « Back to Benghazi » and welcomed the cooperation of international community.

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Boshra media published a message stating that they agree to prolonge negotiations for 48 hours regarding the people of Ganfouda.

Ahmad Hesnawi, from Libya Shield Forces Southern District, published a video message denying rumours and confirming his support to Saraya Defend Benghazi operation.

Ahmad Hesnawi

Security forces loyal to LNA arrested a sleeper cell and seized anti-aircraft weapons, missiles GRAD.

LNA spokesman also confirmed a series of arrestations. A civilian convoy has been filmed by Al Nabaa TV, with children and women, leaving Tripoli to return in Benghazi. Some children were used to show anti-Haftar « propaganda ».

Presidential Council published a statement regarding the « hand over by PFG PC » of the oil facilities, called for a ceasefire and the withdrawing of the forces.

Casualties since Friday 03/03/17:

LNA: 31 killed   SDB: 2 killed and 4 injured. No reliable information.

Thursday 9 March:

Tribes from Cyrenaica rejected the Presidential Council and the offensive led by Saraya Defend Benghazi to retake the oil facilities. They also reaffirmed their support to Libyan National Army and condemned support from international community. Eastern tribes rejected Italy’s intervention in Libyan affairs and catalogued it as a new invasion, « there is obstruction from the international community ». The important point, elders tribes asked also to hand over power in Cyrenaica to a military council led by Haftar.

Boshra media published pictures of ammunitions, 82mm mortars, RPG rockets and S-5.

The Presidency Staff of Libyan Army (GNA) published a statement confirming its commitment to neutrality towards the political pressure. It supports installation of PFG PC in oil facilities and calls for a safe return of the families of Benghazi.

Ali Gatrani, a member of PC, has condemned the decision to hand over As Sidr and Ras Lanuf to the PFG loyal to PC, qualifying that as illegal.

PFG – loyal to LNA from central and eastern region, published a statement denouncing the occupation of the oil facilities by the so-called »Saraya Defend Benghazi, which is at its turn backed by the so-called Presidential Council.

The Defense Ministry of Government National Accord published a statement which welcomes the arrival of the Petroleum Facilities Guard led by Idriss Saleh Abu Khamada, PC in Ras Lanuf and As Sidr.

A fighter involved in the security of Sirte has released a picture of a convoy with the message: « Forces to secure the oil fields and ports ».

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A convoy of Libya Shield Forces Southern District arrived in renfort in Oil Crescent to support SDB and allies.

Mahmoud Al-Fitouri, one of the SDB’s  commander, asked Egypt to play a positive role to achieve stability in Libya. He welcomed the positions of the international community then particularly Italy. « These allegations are totally wrong », he stated answering to LNA about the element of Al Qaeda in anti-LNA coalition.

Special Investigative Forces (LNA) arrested people in Ajdabiya and seized a BMB belonging to the 106 infantry battalion, probably the same captured last week by SDB.

Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs’ spokesman and adviser, Ahmed Abu Zeid denounced the control by armed groups of the Oil Crescent in Libya.

It was also reported that LNA launched the third offensive to retake the oil facilities in Ras Lanuf but no reliable information regarding their positions so far.

Casualties since Friday 03/03/17:

LNA: 31 killed   SDB: 2 killed and 4 injured. No reliable information.

Friday 10 March:

Abdul Salam Jadallah al-Odeidi, GNC’s chief, has arrived on the frontline near Ras Lanuf.

Ismail al-Sallabi, a senior SDB commander, has published a statement denying his link with Al Qaeda in response to Aref Nayed -Libyan ambassador in UAE.

IMG_2017-03-10 17:22:43

Al-Mahdi Al-Barghathi announced via a statement the sending of 600 militiamen to support the Petroleum Facilities Guard loyal to PC. The militias come from the 302nd and 21Oth infantry battalions of Tripoli, 319th infantry presidency of general staff, 45th infantry battalion of central region, 191th infantry battalion and the 66th infantry battalion of Sabha.

Despite the bad weather, LNA AD carried out airstrikes against SBD and allies in the harbour of As Sidr.

Misrata deputies and municipality council released a statement regarding the oil crescent. They are not part of the conflict. Their weapons are against the terrorist as IS, not against the brothers from north, south, east, west. They agreed that IDPs should return to their homes and their cities to stop their suffering

Special Investigative Forces have arrested an old man of 77 years old from al Magharba tribe, who carried explosives and mines in El Agheila.

HoR members supporting the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) are concerned about the human rights violations in Oil Crescent. They accused LNA of torturing people from al Magharba tribes, especially in Bashir – Brega and Ajdabiya,  while they « support » SDB in the offensive.

A fighter belonging to « Tarek Ibn Zayed » battalion from al Abraq published pictures and confirmed their engagement in Oil Crescent.

Fayez al-Sarraj called for the unification of PFG under control of National Oil Corporation (NOC) to protect facilities and ordered the withdrawing of the forces in the Oil Crescent.

The PFG loyal to PC are in positions in As Sidr according to the pictures released yesterday on a social network, no other information regarding the withdrawing of Saraya Defend Benghazi.

Elders of Tajura tribes support « Back to Benghazi » operation led by SDB and allies according to a statement released yesterday.

Casualties since Friday 03/03/17:

LNA: 31 killed and 8 injured  SDB: 2 killed and 4 injured. No reliable information.

Saturday 11 March:

A battalion from Misrata has been reported on the way to offering its support to the PFG PC in the Oil Crescent, it will fight under the name of 613th Battalion of PC’s minister of Defense.

LNA AF carried out airstrikes against SDB and allies in Ras Lanuf.

The 165th Battalion – also called Battalion Hussein Jawafa – sent renfort (fighters, tanks) to LNA in the Oil Crescent area, according to reports. This battalion will fight SDB and allies in coordination with the 321st artillery battalion.

Boshra News released a statement, translated in English as well, about their political vision in which they declare no political nor ideologic affiliations. They pledge to fight terrorism in Libya and support the social and political solutions. Their goal is humanitarian assistance for the « tens of thousand » displaced from Benghazi.

A pro-SDB account published pictures of a fighter supposedly taken in front of Ras Lanuf Oil and Gas Cooperation (RASCO).

Security room of Western forces led by Isam al-Trabulsi from Al Sawa’iq Brigade, has arrived yesterday in Ajdabiya to support LNA.

« Back to Benghazi campaign » has prepared its first humanitarian convoy – food, tires, mattresses, soap etc. – for the families on their way to Benghazi.

An armed convoy led by Suleiman Mahmoud Al-Obeidi has been reported in Wadi al-Ahmar, west of Ben Jawad. No reliable information.

Casualties since Friday 03/03/17:

LNA: 31 killed and 8 injured  SDB: 2 killed and 4 injured. No reliable information.

Sunday March 12:

LNA AF began the airstrikes with a Mi-35 this afternoon against SDB and allies in Ras Lanuf near the oil facilities, one person was killed. Then during the night, with the MiG-23/21 and probably Mi-35, launching airstrikes on « Alphippa » – former oil company in Ras Lanuf,  as well as in As Sidr, on « a farm » in Nawfaliya and an agricultural project west of Ben Jawad.

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Following the first airstrikes, Idriss Saleh Abu Khamada, called upon the international community to protect the oil facilities in Libya and asked for a « no-fly » zone around the installations.

The Hussein Jawafa Battalion published pictures of their fighters monitoring the movements in the Oil Crescent area.

Minister of Defense (GNA) published a statement, Al-Mahdi Al-Barghathi called for facilitating the passage of ambulances transporting injured from Eastern region to Central region, then Western region.

In a statement, the National Reconciliation Council invited the parties involved in the Oil Crescent to a reconciliation.

According to reports, « an offensive » is being prepared by LNA. The 202nd battalion is working on shields which they will install on armed vehicles.

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An account close to SDB has published a picture of Omar al-Mukhtar Brigade, led by Ziyad Balaam. This Katiba was the first alongside SDB on the first day and could send more support to continue the operation « Back to Benghazi ».

Sameh Shoukry – Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs – called Fayez al Sarraj – Prime Minister of GNA – regarding the situation in Oil Crescent and the importance of promoting the Libyan Political Accord (LPA)

Casualties since Friday 03/03/17:

LNA: 31 killed and 8 injured  SDB: 3 killed and 4 injured. No reliable information.

Monday March 13:

The series of airstrikes continued in Oil Crescent area. Seven fighters loyal to SDB were killed, out of which two were coming from Gharyan, south of Tripoli. According to other reports, four fighters were also wounded. LNA AF carried out airstrikes in As Sidr, Ras Lanuf and Nawfaliya. During the night, a house and a farm were damaged and a child injured.

The 101st infantry battalion sent again more reinforcement in Ajdabiya earlier this day / during the morning to support LNA in the Oil Crescent.

Aguila Salah Issa – head of HoR – suspended the dialogue until the parties condemn the oil Crescent Offensive and show goodwill to reach a real reconciliation.

« The young from Misrata » denounced the use of Libya’s vital resources and especially the exploitation of these resources as part of the struggle to achieve political gains. They added that the fight must be against terrorism and extremist groups, after which they stated that the LPA no longer represents Libyans.

LNA troops are in positions waiting for orders to begin an offensive.

Casualties since Friday 03/03/17:

LNA: 31 killed and 8 injured  SDB: 10 killed and 8 injured. No reliable information.

Tuesday March 14:

LNA launched a big offensive on sea, air and land under the orders of Marshall Haftar to retake the Oil Crescent. LNA AF renewed airstrikes against SDB and allies in Ras Lanuf, As Sidr and Ben Jawad.

Meanwhile, LNA troops which were positioned in south and El Agheila, east of Ras Lanuf, launched the offensive on the ground with help of the navy. The port of Ras Lanufindustrial area and the airport were the first taken over by LNA during the afternoon.

SDB and allies have been reported fleeing towards the town of Ben Jawad. Then LNA led by Al Gasbi pushed attacks until the residential area of Ras Lanuf which they took control of.

Meanwhile, other LNA units came from the south and then took control of the facilities in As Sidr.

Following these efforts, LNA took control of Ben Jawad and Nawfaliya without clashes. SDB and allies retreated in south, towards Jufrah region. So far, 23 LNA soldiers were killed today during the offensive.

Boshra News published a message regarding today’s offensive. According to them, the oil facilities were under PFG PC control since March 7, so they didn’t lose the facilities. Yasser al-Jabali said that its forces captured LNA soldiers, according to some reports 13 soldiers and « Back to Benghazi » is still an ongoing operation.

Despite the LNA claims, a video published this afternoon by SDB stated that they still control « RASCO » company in Ras Lanuf. SDB fled to Jufrah region, LNA AF targeted them with a MiG-21 and a Mi-8.

French, Italian, UK and US ambassadors reiterate their strong concern regarding the violence in the Oil Crescent area via an official statement.

Saleh Lataiwich – leader of al Magharba tribe and HoR National Sovereignty Block, congratulated LNA for today’s offensive via statements.

National Oil Corporation based in Bayda has renounced to an agreement with NOC based in Tripoli.

Casualties since Friday 03/03/17:

LNA: 54 killed and 8 injured  SDB: 10 killed and 8 injured.

By Tom FNX.

© 2017 « Freedom of Writing » All rights reserved.

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