TRIPOLI, Libya 

The Libyan army on Wednesday destroyed a Russian-made Pantsir-type air defense system in the city of Tahruna, southeast of Tripoli, according to a military spokesman.

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

Earlier Wednesday, the Libyan army announced its continued progress towards liberating the town of al-Asaba, southeast of Tripoli, from warlord Khalifa Haftar’s militia.

The army said retaking al-Asaba is essential to liberating the city of Tarhouna further south as it will help cut off supply lines to Haftar’s forces.

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

The move came after the Libyan army destroyed three Russian-made Pantsir type air defense systems used by Haftar’s forces that were supplied by the United Arab Emirates.

Libya’s government has been under attack by Haftar’s forces 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.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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