The Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, announced that its forces have advanced in South Tripoli and taken control over Azizia town, 40 km south of the capital Tripoli.
Media Center of LNA's Dignity Operations Room issued a statement stating that the forces took control of Az-Zahraa Brigade after liberating Azizia, following heavy clashes in the region.
Meanwhile, forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA), headed by Fayez Sarraj, sought to thwart the army attack and stop its advance by launching a counter-attack in the axes of Ain Zar and Khalat al-Furjan, south of the capital.
Commander of Salaheddine axis, Mohammed al-Durat, was quoted by pro-government media as saying that his forces thwarted an armed attack, which was joined by Sudanese mercenaries on al-Khallatat and Yarmouk axis.
Durat pointed out that GNA forces suffered heavy losses during their attempts to advance in the region.
However, an LNA military official told Asharq Al-Awsat that his forces responded to the “desperate attempts” of GNA armed militias to regain their positions, stressing that all these attempts have failed.
The official, who asked not to be identified, did not confirm the army's full control of Azizia, but said the army was close to achieving it.
Several violent explosions were heard in various areas south and east of Misrata, reported local media and eyewitnesses in the city, which coincided with LNA’s airstrikes targeting militia positions.
In a statement, the National Army said it launched an airstrike during which it destroyed an ammunition depot, pointing that a number of explosions occurred around the Air Academy Misrata.
It also announced that a large number of dead bodies were discovered in Saadiya, pointing out that senior field commander of Sarraj forces, the “terrorist Osama al-Juwaili”, ordered armed militias “to get rid of any injured mercenary,” which the statement described as a “dangerous precedent.”
The army did not disclose the number of the fatalities or their nationalities, but said the Red Cross will arrive soon to receive the bodies.
In related news, GNA’s Foreign Ministry announced that a number of US congressmen submitted a bill for "stability in Libya."
The draft revolves around the challenges facing Libya's stability, tackling foreign intervention in Libya, and assisting the country with necessary aids, stressing that the Russian influence in Libya should be terminated.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed Libya during a phone call, the Interfax news agency reported.
Putin and Merkel expressed their intention to reduce the escalation in Libya and support UN efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict in the country, Russian presidential press service said.