LNA Retakes Oil Crescent From BDB
On 14 March, Libyan National Army (LNA) forces launched a counter attack against the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) from Brega. By the afternoon of 14 March, LNA spokesperson Ahmed al-Mismari claimed that the BDB forces had retreated to Misrata and Jufra, and that some had been captured. At least 21 LNA fighters were reportedly killed in the offensive. This figure is in addition to the 38 LNA fighters the LNA says have been killed since the BDB offensive started in the Oil Crescent on 3 March. The BDB has not released its casualty figures for this latest battle. The LNA claims to be back in control of Ras Lanuf and Sidra oil ports. Photos have emerged of LNA fighters at these ports that seem to confirm this.
The LNA attack followed a large deployment of LNA forces, reportedly comprising over 3,000 armed vehicles, being mobilised in and around Brega, Agilah and Bishr. The LNA also conducted airstrikes daily throughout last week against BDB targets near these ports and in neighbouring towns of Bin Jawwad and Nawfaliyah. On 12 March, five BDB fighters (3 from Benghazi and 2 from Gharyan) were killed in LNA airstrikes against BDB positions in Sidra and Ras Lanuf.
On 14 March, the UK, US, French and Italian ambassadors expressed their “strong concern” over the fate of Libya’s oil facilities and called for an end to hostilities in the Oil Crescent to protect Libya’s most critical oil asset. They said, “Oil infrastructure, production, export and revenues belong to the Libyan people and must remain under the exclusive control of the National Oil Corporation”.