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Forces allied with Libyan UN-backed govt take key military base near Tripoli, spokesman says

Forces allied with Libyan UN-backed govt take key military base near Tripoli, spokesman says

Forces allied with Libya’s UN-supported government said on Monday they have wrested control of a key military base on the outskirts of the country’s capital from their rivals trying to capture Tripoli.

Eastern forces’ commander Khalifa Haftar has been waging a campaign for over a year to take Tripoli from an array of militias in the west loosely linked to the administration in the capital.

Col. Mohamed Gnounou, a spokesman for the Tripoli-allied forces, said they retook the al-Waitya airbase in the city’s southwestern desert reaches, though no details were provided. A spokesman for Haftar’s forces has not immediately commented on the report, AP said. The Tripoli-allied forces had been trying for weeks to take the base, reportedly stepping up attacks by Turkish-supplied drones.

The escalation in the fighting comes despite increased international pressure on both sides to return to negotiating a political settlement and to halt the violence, much of it over concerns about the spread of coronavirus. Libya has reported at least 65 cases of the virus and three Covid-19-linked deaths.