21:59 GMT +314 December 2019
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    A member of forces loyal to Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), aims his weapon in al-Zaafaran neighbourhood as pro-government forces fight with Islamic State group (IS) fighters holed up in residential district two on August 14, 2016 in Sirte, east of the capital Tripoli

    Libyan Government of National Accord Appoints Official Spokesman of Armed Forces

    © AFP 2019 / MAHMUD TURKIA
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Prime Minister of the Tripoli-based UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez Sarraj appointed Col. Muhammad Kanunu on Saturday as the official spokesman of the army.

    "Air Force Col. Muhammad Hassan Muhammad Kanunu is appointed the official spokesman of the Libyan army," the government said in a decree published on Facebook. 

    The decree comes into force from the date of publication.

    The decision was announced amid a tense situation in the country, with the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by commander Khalifa Haftar, carrying out an offensive to retake Tripoli from the GNA-backed forces. The LNA has already recaptured a number of settlements on its way to the capital, while the leader of Libya's UN-backed GNA government Fayez Sarraj has ordered its troops to use force if necessary.

    Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Khalifa Haftar told Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov in a phone call about the LNA's actions in the fight against terrorists.

    "Haftar shared information about the actions undertaken by the Libyan National Army in recent days, aimed, as it was emphasized, at intensifying the fight against terrorist and extremist groups present in various parts of the country, including the capital of Tripoli, which pose a threat to stability of Libyan society and impede the implementation of agreements on the establishment of a sustainable inter-Libyan inclusive political process and a consensus dialogue aimed at creating effective government bodies," the ministry said.

    Earlier in the day, the LNA announced the establishment of a no-fly zone for combat aircraft over the western part of the country and established full control over Tripoli International Airport, located 34 kilometres (21 miles) from the Libyan capital, which has not been in operation since 2014 as its infrastructure was significantly damaged.

    READ MORE: LNA Announces No-Fly Zone for Combat Aircraft Amid Advance on Tripoli — Reports

    Though both sides, GNA and LNA, held the UN-supported talks in February, the conflict continues to escalate. This two-sided division of the country has been established following years of conflicts and a revolt, backed by NATO, that ended up with the murder of the ex-head of state Muammar Gaddafi. Since then, there was no single central government in Libya. The Tobruk-based parliament, elected in 2014 and backed by the LNA, governs the east of Libya, while the GNA, established in 2015, controls Libya's western parts from Tripoli.

    READ MORE: Libyan GNA Chief Agrees to Meet With LNA's Haftar Who Rejects Option — Reports

    spokesman, appointment, Libyan National Army (LNA), Libyan Government of National Accord, Libya
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