Turkey's foreign ministry said that the attacks on Tripoli's Mitiga airport early on Saturday, part of an intensified barrage of artillery fire on the capital, were war crimes.

A car wreckage is seen near buildings after a rocket attack by warlord Khalifa Haftar's militia on Bab Bin Ghashir area of Tripoli, Libya on May 9, 2020.
A car wreckage is seen near buildings after a rocket attack by warlord Khalifa Haftar's militia on Bab Bin Ghashir area of Tripoli, Libya on May 9, 2020. (AA)

Turkey says it will consider legitimately targeting elements associated with warlord Khalifa Haftar, if the country's interests in Libya are targeted, the Turkish foreign ministry said.

In a statement, it said that "if our missions and our interests in Libya are targeted, we will deem Haftar's forces legitimate targets."

It also said the attacks on Tripoli's Mitiga airport early on Saturday, part of an intensified barrage of artillery fire on the capital, were war crimes.

"It is unacceptable that the United Nations is not taking any actions against this brutality," the ministry said, adding Ankara would continue to support the legitimate government of Libya and its institutions.

The statement came as Libya's prime ministry press office says attacks by renegade commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces left the Libyan government "no choice but to respond,".

Prime Minister Fayez al Sarraj criticised the international community for staying silent in the face of attacks orchestrated by the warlord.

"The insane attacks carried out by the war criminal Haftar against the capital Tripoli these days are a sign that he was despaired as a result of his successive defeats and that he was nearing the end of his bloody project, which he carried out to take over the administration. The terrible crimes committed by Haftar leave us no choice but to respond with an iron claw by using all our means," al Sarraj said.

Haftar, the leader of a radical force in eastern Libya, has intensified attacks on civilians since the beginning of May, but government forces recently gained advantage by inflicting severe losses on his militants.

The UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) has been under attack by Haftar's forces since April 2019, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence. The government launched Operation Peace Storm on March 26 to counter attacks on the capital.

Ongoing clashes

The GNA army is now clashing with Haftar's militias stationed in the Salahaddin region in southern Tripoli, said spokesman Mustafa al Majai.

The army targeted points where the militias launched rocket attacks on civilian settlements in Tripoli during the day, he said.

A vehicle loaded with two Grad missile batteries belonging to the militia was reportedly destroyed in camp Yarmouk in the south of the city.

Meanwhile, witnesses said there were intense clashes in the Abu Salim and Al Hadba regions south of the capital, where people have reportedly heard sporadic fire and loud explosions.

At least six civilians were killed in rocket attacks by Haftar's forces on Saturday.

Parliament wants action

Parliament has urged the UN Security Council (UNSC) to urgently convene to stop attacks from Haftar affiliated militias.

Lawmakers demanded the body fulfil its responsibility to protect civilians and come up with a solution to protect both lives and property.

Parliament also accused the United Arab Emirates of supporting Haftar and said the UAE "does not care that Libyans are sacrificed."

The renegade warlord is supported by France, Russia, the UAE and Egypt.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies