Local tribes in al Asaba had earlier announced their support to the Libyan government.

GNA military spokesman Mohammed Kanunu inspects the Al-Watiya airbase which was long occupied by warlord Khalifa Haftar's militias and was recaptured by the GNA in Tripoli, Libya on May 18, 2020
GNA military spokesman Mohammed Kanunu inspects the Al-Watiya airbase which was long occupied by warlord Khalifa Haftar's militias and was recaptured by the GNA in Tripoli, Libya on May 18, 2020 (AA)

The Libyan army on Wednesday morning announced its continued progress towards liberating a key town 100 kilometres southwest of the capital Tripoli from warlord Khalifa Haftar's militia.

"The army continues advancing towards al Asaba to liberate it from Haftar's militia... The clashes are very fierce," said Mustafa al Majei, spokesman for the government’s 'Volcano of Rage' operation.

Two army personnel were injured at the town’s entrance by drones of the United Arab Emirates, one of the countries supporting the warlord’s militants, he added.

The spokesman stressed that retaking al Asaba is essential to liberating the city of Tarhouna further south as it will help cut off supply lines to Haftar's militia.

The Libyan army also destroyed nine Russian-made Pantsir type air defense systems in the past two days used by Haftar’s forces that were also supplied by the UAE.

"Our forces managed to destroy these Pantsir-type air defense systems, including three in Tarhuna," Mohamed Qanunu, a spokesman for the government-led Operation Volcano of Rage, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, local tribes in al Asaba announced their support to the Libyan government.

"Based on a meeting held by the tribes of the town of al Asaba, it was decided to join the Government of National Accord," the town’s social council said on Facebook.

Libya’s army on Monday retook Al Watiya Airbase occupied by warlord Khalifa Haftar's militias, a key facility now back under government control after some six years under putschist forces.

Libya's government has been under attack by Haftar's militias since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence.

Following the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya's government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led political deal.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies