Updated at 9:00 PM: Government forces entered the city and Adel Daab's armed group fled the city
Gharyan (100 km southwest of Tripoli) witnessed violent clashes in the early morning hours of Sunday, after light, medium and heavy weapons were used by armed groups on the streets, leaving an initial toll of two dead and at least four wounded according to the director of Gharyan Hospital, Khalid Zuwait.
The clashes began after a force affiliated with armed leader Adel Daab entered the city after he had been kicked out from it since the forces of Operation Volcano of Rage took control of it in June 2019, when Daab himself gave Gharyan control over to Khalifa Haftar’s forces at the beginning of the war on Tripoli in April 2019.
Daab was one of the first revolutionaries on February 17, 2011 in Gharyan and one of the prominent leaders in the city from 2011 until 2019, when he joined Haftar’s forces.
There are conflicting reports regarding the size of the force with which Daab entered, as some indicate the presence of several armed vehicles made up of Gharyan’s locals who joined him and fled east of the country in June 2020, but the actual force that fought the clashes Sunday was from the city of Gharyan itself and they fought against Daab forces in 2019 and 2020, but joined him in a new alliance to limit the influence of the force currently controlling Gharyan, which is affiliated with one of the most prominent leaders of the armed formations in Tripoli, Abdul-Ghani (Ghaniwa) Al-Kikli.
In Tripoli, a number of meetings were held by military commanders loyal to the Government of National Unity to discuss the response to the Gharyan clashes and the control of Daab forces over the city, while arming vehicles belonging to Al-Kikli and other leaders of the armed formations and directing them to go to Gharyan, apparently to help the forces withdrawing from the city.
Meanwhile, the Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, in his capacity as Minister of Defense, orderes the formation of a joint room from several security and military agencies to deter "aggressor groups in Gharyan", saying the joint room is for defending the western and southwestern regions and it includes seven brigades, eight battalions, and 12 security and military agencies.
"The room is headed by Abdul Salam Al-Zoubi, with the assistance of an officer from Brigade 444 and from Public Security and a representative from each assigned unit. The tasks of the room are to defeat the armed groups carrying armed clashes in Gharyan, deal with them with force if necessary, and secure the city and its surroundings." Dbeibah said.
During the clashes, eyewitnesses reported a heavy presence of drones that took off from the Mitiga airbase in Tripoli towards Gharyan, without any reports of aerial bombardment or confirmation of the drones’ intention to participate in military operations or mere surveillance.
The Ministry of Health of the Government of National Unity announced that the Emergency Medicine and Support Center was assigned to take all necessary measures in Gharyan to support hospitals in light of the clashes that the city has witnessed since dawn on Sunday.
The Acting Minister of Health, Ramadan Abu Janah, called on hospitals, health centers, and health workers in the region to raise the level of maximum preparedness to provide ambulance and emergency services to respond to the situation in Gharyan. The management of Gharyan Teaching Hospital also called on all medical workers and personnel to come to work due to the clashes.