16:23 GMT +319 January 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Troops loyal to Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord have reclaimed the northern port city of Sirte after parts of it were briefly occupied by the army of General Khalifa Haftar, the lead Russian negotiator in the contact group on intra-Libyan settlement said on Monday.

    "GNA troops from Misrata returned to Sirte and fought to reclaim their positions. At the moment, Sirte is back under control of forces loyal to GNA Prime Minister Fayez] Sarra", Lev Dengov said.

    GNA forces captured dozens of LNA personnel and 20 pieces of military equipment, according to Dengov. Some 50 fighters loyal to General Haftar have been killed. But the Russian official added that Sirte could swap hands again as the fighting continued.

    Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army entered the hometown of Libya’s former ruler Muammar Gaddafi earlier on Monday. Dengov said that Misrata fighters, allied with the Tripoli-based GNA, initially pulled back without engaging the LNA.

    Libya has been torn apart between the two rival governments since 2011 when its long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled and killed. The LNA has been trying to seize control over the country's capital of Tripoli, currently controlled by the rival UN-backed GNA, since April 2019. Sirte, located between Tripoli and Benghazi, is Gaddafi's birthplace.

    Tags:
    Fawaz Khalifa, Khalifa Haftar, Libyan National Army (LNA), Libya
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