Forces led by military commander Khalifa Haftar seized two seaports on Thursday -- Sidra and Ras Lanuf -- in Libya’s strategic “oil crescent” region, according to a local field commander.
The developments come within the context of an ongoing Haftar-led operation aimed at recapturing the oil-rich region from forces led by Ibrahim Jadhran.
Jadhran is a former commander of Libya’s Petroleum Defense Guards, a government force tasked with protecting national oil facilities.
"Haftar’s forces have succeeded in wresting control over Sidra and Ras Lanuf and surrounding areas," Said Wanis, a pro-Haftar field commander, told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
On June 14, forces led by Jadhran, who also served as a rebel commander during Libya’s 2011 uprising, captured the two seaports.
At the same time, forces led by Haftar, who was appointed military commander in 2015 by Libya’s Tobruk-based parliament, were deployed to the cities of Al-Brega and Ajdabiya.
Libya’s strategic oil crescent stretches from Ras Lanuf in the east to the north-central city of Sirte and down to the southern Jufra district.
The region, which accounts for an estimated 80 percent of Libya’s total oil production, remains a point of contention between rival political factions.
Libya has been dogged by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the death of president Muammar Gaddafi after more than four decades in power.
Since then, the country’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power -- one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli -- and a host of heavily-armed militia groups.
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