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Fierce battles near Tripoli 

February 14, 2020 at 4:07 am

According to witnesses and forces affiliated with the Government of National Accord (GNA), fighting renewed on Thursday between the two parties to the Libyan conflict in southern Tripoli, causing the death of a least one civilian, despite the UN Security Council’s adoption of a permanent ceasefire resolution on Wednesday.

The same sources said that flights were suspended at Maitika International Airport after being targeted with a missile. At the same time, battles erupted again in southern Tripoli between the GNA forces and military formations affiliated with Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

Witnesses heard the sound of a missile explosion in the agricultural plateau project, about 30 kilometres south of the centre of the Libyan capital.

Other rockets landed in residential neighbourhoods, killing one woman and wounding four other civilians, according to the GNA spokesman Amin Al-Hashemi.

Mustafa Al-Mujai, a spokesman to the GNA, confirmed to Agence France-Presse that clashes broke out again in the region mentioned above while accusing Haftar’s forces of violating the fragile truce announced on 12 January.

He said that “the Haftar forces tried to advance in the agricultural plateau area, but our forces repelled the attack.”

Despite the armistice, sporadic battles were recorded daily near Tripoli as weapons continued to enter the country.

On Wednesday, for the first time since the Haftar forces launched their offensive in Tripoli in early April, the UN Security Council adopted a permanent ceasefire resolution, aimed to complement the truce announced in January.

The resolution called for the continuation of negotiations within the framework of the joint military committee that was formed in January and included representatives on behalf of the warring parties, in an attempt to implement “a permanent ceasefire” that includes a monitoring mechanism, the separation of fighting forces and confidence-building measures.

Read: Libya: Protests in Tripoli against Haftar forces’ suspension of oil production

The committee held a series of meetings in Geneva, which were concluded on Saturday without reaching an agreement. The United Nations proposed to resume the talks as of 18 February.

The clashes around Tripoli have resulted in the death of more than 1,000 people and the displacement of about 140,000 others, according to the United Nations.

The GNA forces announced on Thursday the repulsion of the forces of retired Major General Khalifa Haftar on the agricultural plateau project axis south of the capital, Tripoli, hours after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution stipulating a permanent ceasefire in the country.

Al-Mujai told the Anadolu Agency that Haftar forces had launched a ground attack. However, the GNA army managed to thwart the offensive.

He added that the GNA forces are now beginning to make progress on the ground, after repelling the attack; noting that the battles are still ongoing.

On Wednesday, the UN Security Council approved a British draft resolution calling for a commitment to a ceasefire in Libya, in light of the understandings of the Berlin Conference.

Following a Turkish-Russian initiative, the GNA army and the Haftar forces adhered to a cease-fire on 12 January, in an attempt to solve the ongoing crisis in Libya that emanated from a rivalry over legitimacy and authority of the oil-rich country.

The UN Security Council draft resolution No. 2510 won the approval of 14 out of 15 member states, while Russia (with veto power) abstained from voting.

The Haftar forces are violating the ceasefire daily, by launching attacks on the Libyan capital (west), where the GNA headquarters are located, as part of a military operation that has been ongoing since 4 April, to control Tripoli.