Armed clashes erupt between forces belong to Libya's UN-recognised Government of National Accords (GNA) and those loyal to the rebel warlord Khalifa Haftar.

Fighters loyal to Libya's UN-backed government (GNA) hold RPG-s (rocket-propelled grenades) during clashes with forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar at the outskirts of Tripoli, Libya May 25, 2019.
Fighters loyal to Libya's UN-backed government (GNA) hold RPG-s (rocket-propelled grenades) during clashes with forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar at the outskirts of Tripoli, Libya May 25, 2019. (Reuters Archive)

Forces loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), launched an attack on Saturday from various axis of the fighting against the Libyan National Army (LNA) forces loyal to rebel warlord Khalifa Haftar south of the capital Tripoli.

Sources confirmed that GNA forces had made progress in areas previously controlled by the LNA.

Heavy and medium weapons were heard clearly in different parts of the capital, which was the scene of clashes that erupted since the early morning hours.

TRT World's Craig Vermay reports.

Witnesses confirmed the fall of several shells randomly on houses of civilians in the area of  Al Swani, southwest of Tripoli, where damaged buildings could be seen.

The spokesman for the forces of the GNA, Colonel Mohammed Gannouno, said the forces of the GNA managed to take control of new locations from the LNA forces, specifically in the area of Ain Zara.

He added the forces of GNA destroyed several armed vehicles belonging to the LNA in various axes during the advance of the forces of GNA south of Tripoli.

In the same context, the GNA forces said they continue to advance at the airport military front.

"The progress came after targeting pro-Haftar positions through heavy artillery," the GNA forces said in a Saturday statement.

Two car blasts target Libya military unit

At least 18 people were wounded in two car bomb explosions that targeted a military unit in Libya's eastern coastal city of Derna, sending plumes of black smoke into the sky, a medical source and residents told Reuters early on Sunday.

Residents said the car bombs targeted a military unit called Bulahati belonging to the eastern forces of the Libyan National Army (LNA) in the city centre.

Derna, once a militants bastion, is about 292 km distant from Libya's second city, Benghazi, and was declared to be under the complete control of Khalifa Haftar's LNA in June 2018.

After the ouster of longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011, militant groups Al Qaeda and Daesh have used the oil-rich country as a base for attacks, exploiting its chaos and lack of security. 

Weeks of fighting

On April 4, Haftar, who is affiliated with a rival government based in eastern Libya, launched a wide-ranging campaign to capture Tripoli.

After several weeks of fighting on Tripoli’s outskirts, however, Haftar's campaign has thus far failed to achieve its primary objective.

Nevertheless, Haftar’s forces remain deployed in several areas around the capital.

Libya has remained beset by turmoil since 2011, when NATO intervention led to the ouster former of strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

Gaddafi, who remained in power for four decades, was later killed in a bloody NATO-backed uprising.

The oil-rich country has since seen the emergence of two rival seats of power: one in eastern Libya, with which Haftar is affiliated, and the Tripoli-based GNA, which enjoys UN recognition.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies