A Human rights activist and photographer from Libya, Tarik Lamloum is based in Benghazi. He has been able to observe the changes that we have seen in Benghazi, after the Rebels council of Benghazi including the Islamist group, Ansar Al-Sharia started to battle Haftar forces. General Haftar who announced a Military operation called Operation Dignity to fight Islamist forces in Benghazi and Neighbouring cities. The Rebels council managed to take over main Army bases inside the city, and the last remaining is the airport.
I conducted an interview with Tarik Lamloum, asking him about the situation in Benghazi, with the Rebels council and of course Haftar forces.
Salamu Aleikum brother, I want to ask you first, what is the relationship between the members of the Majlis Shura Thuwar Benghazi (Rebels council of Benghazi) and the civilians who live in Benghazi?
Wa aleikumusalam, Majlis Shura Thuwar Benghazi (Rebels council of Benghazi) mainly consists of the youth in the city, who gathered in the time of the revolution in 2011 against Gaddafi.
And after the war against Gaddafi had ended, many of them returned home and back to their Normal lives. Then after General Haftar announced the Operation Dignity against the Islamists, many of the rebels joined with Ansar Al-Sharia, and people were divided regarding them.
The rebels council of Benghazi are inside and within the city, and they are among the youth, and
a lot of people in Benghazi support them and help the, and this is why Haftar Forces could not enter the city of Benghazi (due to the public support for the Rebels council).
In Conclusion, there is a good relationship between the Shura Council and the people of Benghazi, of course, not everyone supports them.
Do the Rebels council control all of Benghazi?
They are in control of all the entrances to the city, but there is an army camp, the location of it is undisclosed, but the owner said that he does not follow Haftar.
I mean, the life in side Benghazi is normal, no one is in control, but there is lawlessness and lack of safety.
But, in general, it is the Rebels Council who controls the city, and they have firm control over all the entrances from all sides of the city.
Okay, so if they manage to take control over Baninah Airport, which is the last army base of Haftar forces, does this mean that Benghazi is all in their hands?
Yes, Baninah is the last place that the Forces of General Haftar is based, if they manage to take it from Haftar and expel his forces from the Aiport, they will have control of Benghazi from all sides.
And they are keen on capturing the airport, as this is where the Airstrikes of Haftar come from, I understood that they captured all the other bases in Benghazi in one day. So after Haftar started attacking and bombarding they decided to go after the Baninah Airport
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