The two warring parties in Libya are exchanging accusations that violated the ceasefire proposed by Turkey and Russia as conflicts continue around the capital Tripoli today.
The presidents of Turkey and Russia have called for the ceasefire to come into force today, more than nine months after the attack on Tripoli by Libyan National Army (LNA) forces under General Khalifa Haftar, based in the country’s east.
Both the LNA and the Tripoli-based The Government of National Accord (GNA) had agreed on terms.
But the GNA said in a statement that gunshots were heard in the Salaheddin and Wadi Rabea areas “just minutes” after 0001 am today, the local time for the ceasefire to take effect.
Earlier this morning, gunfire was heard in the districts of Salaheddin and Ain Zara.
Any attempt to put an end to the ceasefire will be difficult because of the nature of Libya’s military alliances with heterogeneous factions and foreign fighters on both sides. At the same time, both sides call themselves militias.
“GNA militias have violated the ceasefire in more than one battlefield with all types of weapons,” LNA commander Al-Mabrouk al-Ghazawi said, adding that his forces were awaiting further instructions from the LNA’s general administration.
For its part, the GNA said in a statement that it had recorded violations by the “militant militia”, but that it “renews its commitment to the ceasefire and stresses the need for supporters of this ceasefire and by the United Nations mission in Libya for its smooth implementation”.
Turkey’s defense ministry said it noted that all sides were trying to abide by the ceasefire and that the situation was calm except for “one or two different incidents”.
The call for a ceasefire came after the recent escalation of hostilities around Tripoli and the advance of the LNA to Sirte, a strategically important city in the middle of the Libyan coastline.
It also emerged from pressure from the United Nations and European forces to hold a conference in Berlin aimed at curbing foreign involvement and restarting the peace process, which was suspended because of the Haftar advance.
The LNA has received support from the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt and Russia, while Turkey supports the GNA and this month voted in favor of deploying troops in that North African country.