East Libyan troops close on Tripoli, clashes near former airport

Guterres centre leaves the airport in Benghazi Libya on April 5

The Kremlin was commenting after U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was flying to eastern Libya to meet Haftar, whose forces a day earlier began an offensive to take control of the capital now held by an internationally recognised government.

In a televised address, Sarraj warned of a "war without a winner".

Analysts believe that Haftar over-estimates the strength of his LNA.

Now, there are two rival governments in Libya: the UN-backed administration in Tripoli led by Prime Minister Fayez Serraj, and a government in the east supported by Hifter.

The Air Force, which is the under the command of the Presidential Council in Tripoli, said its fighter jets are carrying out reconnaissance flights over the tension areas and would be targeting any attacking forces from eastern Libya led by Haftar.

Tripoli denied Haftar was part of the Libyan army, and he languished in jail until Washington granted him political asylum.

Pro-government forces from the coastal town of Zawiya battled them, retook the base and captured more than 100 of Haftar's men.

Haftar ordered his Libyan National Army (LNA) to advance on Tripoli on Thursday, following years of rivalry with the UN-recognized government. Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French foreign minister, said: "There is a fundamental principle in Libya".

His forces clashed south of the capital Friday and Saturday with forces that back the country's unity government.

"We must store everything we need for the family, just in case, especially those with young children", said Farida, a mother pushing a full shopping cart.

The UN Security Council scheduled an emergency closed-door meeting Friday afternoon at Britain's request to discuss the unfolding developments.

He returned during the revolution and he's subsequently become the most powerful military leader in a country rife with militias, allied to a rival government in the east.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres personally intervened in a bid to stop the fighting but failed Friday to convince Hifter to halt his offensive.

Tripoli residents have begun stocking up on food and fuel, AFP reported.

"You never know how long it will last", she added.

The 75-year-old commander has managed to take over some areas around the city, and after some back-and-forth fighting the day before, his troops were filmed driving through the largely defunct Tripoli International Airport on Saturday.

Russia's top diplomat on Saturday called for Libyans to "decide their future themselves" through "inclusive" dialogue.

Russian Federation also called for restraint, saying Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told Haftar in a phone call that Moscow continues to insist on a political solution to "disputed issues" in Libya.

Despite the Tripoli flare-up, United Nations envoy Ghassan Salame insisted the 14-16 April talks in the Libyan city of Ghadames would go ahead.

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