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The fight in Libya will create a large number of refugees, the Prime Minister warns world news

Hundreds of thousands of refugees could escape the fighting caused by Khalifa Haftar's attempt to seize the Libyan capital. Tripoli, the prime minister of the UN-recognized government of the country, has warned.

The warnings of Fayez al-Sarraj – who also claimed that Haftar had betrayed the people of Libya – make the persons privately provided by the intelligence services of the Italian government, and are clearly designed to limit the EU states to the possible Consequences of a prolonged European migration point to civil war in the country.

There were concerns that Libya could become a "new Syria" as the civil war has led to massive population shifts.

Speaking to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Sarraj, Prime Minister since 2016, said: "We are facing a war of aggression that will spread its cancer throughout the Mediterranean, Italy and Europe. We must be united and determined to block the offensive war of Haftar, a man who betrayed Libya and the international community.

"There are not just 800,000 migrants who may be willing to leave, Libyans will flee this war, and in southern Libya, the terrorists of the Islamic state, which the Tripoli government with the support of the city of Misrata had expelled from the city of Sirte three years ago ".

Sarraj said the Haftar-funded forces "attacked civilian structures, roads, schools, homes, the airport and medical facilities: ambulances and hospitals. General Haftar says he attacks terrorists, but there are only civilians here. "

He added: "The traitorous action of Haftar will destroy Libya and its neighboring countries. No negotiation will be possible if the attack on the population does not stop and it does not retreat. "

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who met with supporters of the Sarraj government in Rome, underlined the scale of the problem. He said: "We must avert a humanitarian crisis that can be devastating, not only for the impact on Italy and the EU, but also for the interests of the Libyan people."

The migration from Libya to Italy declined sharply more than a year ago, in part due to collusion by the Italian Government. Between January and April 10 of this year, 551 migrants reached Italy.

The United Nations International Migration Organization said it was impossible to predict how many migrants could flee Libya and travel to Europe. The IOM pointed out that by 2017 Italy could receive more than 6,000 migrants per month. However, this migration has led to a political backlash, and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has built his popularity on a strict migration policy.

A protester calls for an end to the Haftar offensive against Tripoli on 12 April.

A protester calls for an end to the Haftar offensive against Tripoli on 12 April. Photo: Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters

At least 147 people were killed and 614 injured in the offensive against Tripoli launched by Haftar on 4 April, the World Health Organization said.

According to recent figures from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the clashes have displaced more than 18,000 people.

The international community is still divided over the best course in Libya. A coalition of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, France and the United Arab Emirates sees Haftar as a potential source of stability after years of civil war. These countries underscore the role of the Islamist militia in Tripoli and insist that they want to give stability to a country overrun by terrorists.

The UN Special Envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salamé, however, rejected Haftar's statement on his conduct, saying that the attack was more reminiscent of a coup than of counter-terrorism.

On BBC Radio 4, Salamé said that the Haftar conflict with the government of Tripoli "began a long time ago, actually three or four years ago, in a counter-terrorism logic, but what happens now is not necessarily a counter-terrorism logic. It is an attempt to clearly control the capital of the country, where at least one third of the population lives. This was made even clearer by the fact that he had issued an arrest warrant for Prime Minister Serraj and others, which sounded more like a coup than counter-terrorism. "

Serraj also claimed that Tripoli had fallen into a military stalemate over the past eight days without any significant progress being made by either side.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Middle East Office David Satterfield called for restraint on all sides, but chose to reject the American criticisms of Haftar and instead emphasized the destructive role of the militia. She added that the US favored a permanent solution.


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