This picture taken on April 12, 2019 shows a smoke plume rising from an air strike behind a tank and technicals (pickup trucks mounted with turrets) belonging to forces loyal to Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), during clashes in the suburb of Wadi Rabie about 30 kilometres south of the capital Tripoli. Mahmud TURKIA / AFP
Agence France-Presse

The fighting between Libya’s rival factions for control of the country’s capital this month killed 205 people so far, the World Health Organization said, announcing it would deploy medical specialists, including surgeons, to treat the wounded.

The clashes, which erupted earlier in April, have threatened to ignite a civil war on the scale of the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

The fighting has also forced the U.N. to indefinitely postpone reconciliation talks planned for mid-April that meant to try and find a way to pull Libya out of the chaos that followed Gadhafi’s ouster.

WHO said Wednesday it would send medical staff to treat the wounded, whose number has reached 913. It wasn’t clear how many among the dead are civilians.

Fighting over Tripoli is pitting the self-styled Libyan National Army, which is led by commander Khalifa Hifter and aligned with a rival government based in the country’s east, against militias affiliated with Tripoli’s U.N.-supported government.

The U.N. says that more than 25,000 people have been displaced in the clashes.

Meanwhile, Hifter’s forces said they recaptured Thursday the Tamanhint air base in southern Libya, which had been taken earlier by an armed group affiliated with the Tripoli government.

The armed group, known as the South Protection Forces, initially said it seized 15 armored vehicles and ammunition when it took the base but Mohammed al-Fares, a spokesman for Hifter’s fighters, later said they were back in control.

The base is located near the southern city of Sabha and has strategic significance for control of Libya’s south, which Hifter’s forces seized earlier this year before moving westward on to Tripoli.

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