Libyan government forces have reportedly shot down three Sukhoi fighter jets operated by rebel forces under the command of renegade general Khalifa Haftar.
The Turkish state news agency Anadolu said the forces of the internationally-recognized government of Libya shot down three Sukhoi-22 warplanes on Friday, also targeting several tanks, artillery, armored vehicles, and heavy weapons belonging to Haftar’s militia.
The government forces had a day earlier announced the destruction of three fuel tankers that had been on their way to supply the rebels in the south of the capital, Tripoli. The Libyan forces also said they had targeted an ammunition store and 10 armored vehicles southeast of the al-Washka area, located on the outskirts of the northern coastal city of Sirte.
The government later announced that an airstrike carried out by its forces had targeted rebel sites in the vicinity of Sirte, leaving more than 20 militants dead.
On March 21, Haftar claimed full adherence to a humanitarian truce that focused on efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak in the African country, but his forces continued violating the ceasefire and bombing various locations in the capital.
The breach compelled the Libyan government forces to launch an operation on March 25 to push the rebels back.
Libya plunged into chaos in 2011, when a popular uprising and a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Since 2014, two rival seats of power have emerged in the North African country — the United Nations (UN)-recognized government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, and another group based in the eastern city of Tobruk, supported militarily by Haftar’s rebel forces.
The rebel leader, who is primarily supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Jordan, launched a deadly offensive to capture Tripoli in April last year. His forces have been bogged down outside the city.
Haftar has often rejected opportunities to make peace with the government.