In a statement issued on Saturday, the UN urged the Libyan warring factions to stop fighting in the restive town of al-Aziziya in Warshafana area, some 35 kilometers west of the capital city of Tripoli, warning that the clashes are taking place “at a time when significant progress is being made in the UNSMIL-facilitated Libyan political dialogue process.”
“The Mission calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Warshafana and agreement on arrangements that would allow for a disengagement of forces in the area as a first step towards proper security arrangements to allow the residents to resume their normal day-to-day living,” read the statement.
“The Mission reiterates its call on all the parties in Libya to desist from taking any military actions or decisions that could constitute a provocation in the current environment of heightened tensions,” the statement added.
The statement came as the Libyan army and forces loyal to the country’s internationally recognized government have been engaged in heavy clashes with the Libya Dawn militant alliance in Warshafana over the past two days.
“We are battling tribal forces (linked to the government) and preventing them from advancing,” said a militant commander.
Also on Friday, the clashes in the eastern strategic city of Benghazi left 10 soldiers dead and 40 others injured.
This is while the Libyan rival sides prepare to resume their negotiations to end the country’s deadly crisis.
Source of conflict
Libya has two rival camps vying for control of the country, with one controlling Tripoli, and the other – Libya’s internationally recognized government – in control of the cities of Bayda and Tobruk.
Libya’s government and elected parliament moved to the eastern city of Tobruk after an armed group based in the northwestern city of Misrata seized Tripoli and most government institutions in August 2014.
Libya plunged into chaos following 2011 uprising against the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi. The ouster of Gaddafi gave rise to a patchwork of heavily-armed militias and deep political divisions.
The country has been witnessing numerous clashes between government forces and rival militia groups, which refuse to lay down arms.