After days of heavy fighting in Tripoli that endangered the lives of thousands of Libyan citizens, the U.N. mission in Libya announced that a ceasefire agreement was reached on Tuesday.
“Under the auspices of (U.N. envoy Ghassan Salame), a ceasefire agreement was reached and signed today to end all hostilities, protect civilians, safeguard public and private property and reopen Mitiga airport in Tripoli” the UNSMIL mission said.
Fighting broke out on Aug. 27 when the Seventh Brigade, militias from Tarhouna, attacked the capital’s southern suburbs. The Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigades (TRB) and the Nawasi Brigade, both supporters of Libya’s U.N. backed government, stepped up to defend the city.
Upwards of 50 people were killed since the fighting began, UNSMIL said. In addition to these casualties, 159 people were wounded and 12 people are currently missing, according to Malek Merset, an official at the Health Ministry.
Among those involved in drafting the agreement were military officers, leaders of armed groups present in and around the capital including the Seventh Brigade, the TRB, and the Nawasi Brigade, as well as representatives of the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).
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UNSMIL added that the agreement “today does not aim to fix all the Libyan capital’s security problems; it seeks to agree on a broader framework on the way to start addressing these issues.”
The ceasefire agreement follows calls earlier on Tuesday from U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees spokesperson Charlie Yaxley to spare civilians and to grant them safe passage to refuge areas.
“The current security situation in the Libyan capital is volatile, unpredictable and is restricting access by humanitarian agencies both to displaced Libyans and refugees affected by the clashes,” Yaxley said at a press briefing in Geneva.
Thousands of refugees and migrants are seeking shelter in nearby towns and detention centers without any food or access to medical treatment, while others remain trapped inside their homes.
While the UNHCR, in coordination with the Libyan Ministry of Interior and the World Food Program have been able to provide assistance and food to some affected civilians, other aid attempts have been called off due to escalating violence in the area.
Yaxley said the UNHCR will continue following the fighting and helping those affected despite “deteriorating security” in the capital.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with the Libyan Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration and the UN Agencies, and advocating for all and migrants to be relocated to a safer place,” Yaxley said.
Libya has experienced political chaos since the overthrow and killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. While various militia groups have fought for political control, rival authorities in Tripoli and the country’s east currently govern the country.