TRIPOLI

The Libyan army on Friday said Russian planes, carrying Syrian mercenaries and weapons, made at least 11 landings at the al-Ghardabiya Airbase in the city of Sirte, local media reported.

The planes transported mercenaries from Syria and six Pantsir air defense systems, as well as weapons and ammunition, according to the Libyan military.

On June 6, the Libyan government launched a successful military operation – Path of Victory – to liberate cities in eastern and central Libya, including Sirte, Jufra, towns in Wadi Wishka, Buerat, Jarif and Qasr Abu Haid.

Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Libya’s new government was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to the military offensive by Haftar’s forces, resulting in civilian chaos and more than 1,000 deaths.

In March, the Libyan government launched Operation Peace Storm to counter attacks on the capital, and recently retook strategic locations, including the Al-Watiya airbase and the city of Tarhuna, Haftar’s final stronghold in western Libya.

* Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

Copyright 2020 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.