Hopes that the Libyan Civil War may end through a diplomatic solution were dashed on Monday, April 27, when Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA), declared a 2015 United Nations–brokered agreement to unite the country effectively over, vowing to continue his assault on Tripoli.
Just more than a year ago, the LNA began its assault on the UN-recognized government based in Tripoli, the Government of National Accord (GNA), with the goal of forcibly reunifying Libya under Haftar’s leadership.
Haftar's unilateral decision has been widely condemned by various international powers, even Russia, which has defended Haftar at the United Nations, and is accused by Libyan and United States officials of secretly providing mercenaries and weapons to Haftar’s forces. Moscow has denied the accusations.
Years of war have devastated a once-efficient health system.
Healthcare in Crisis
The escalation of the Libyan conflict is especially concerning given the additional threat of COVID-19, which could cause the collapse of the country’s already-precarious healthcare services. Years of war since long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011 have devastated a once-efficient health system.
In March, the UN and other countries welcomed a positive response by both warring parties to a call for a humanitarian pause in the fighting to help prevent the spread of the virus. Within hours, however, heavy shelling had resumed in Tripoli.