Troops belonging to Libya’s strongman Khalifa Haftar were pushed back on Friday from a key checkpoint just 27 km from capital Tripoli.
He had ordered his troops on Thursday to march on the capital, escalating a conflict with the internationally recognized government.
militiamen from the coastal town of Zawiya, retook the base after a “short exchange of fire, though Haftar has vowed to continue the fight.
“There will be other hubs that will be opened within the next hours for the advancement towards Tripoli from multiple sides and places. Large forces have now been set out; approximately two teams, light infantry and mechanised infantry,” said Ahmed al-Mesmari, spokesman of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army loyal to Khalifa Haftar.
Marshal Haftar’s offensive towards Tripoli raises fears of a risk of a flare up in Libya.
It coincides with the UN Secretary General’s visit to the country, to help organize a reconciliation national conference.
On Friday, Britain requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council to discuss the situation in the North African state.