Haftar forces accept Turkey, Russia call for cease-fire
Forces loyal to Libya's renegade Gen. Khalifa Haftar accepted a joint call by Turkey and Russia for a cease-fire and truce in the battle for Tripoli, Anadolu agency reported.
Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said in a video message that forces accepted the cease-fire call but would harshly respond if violated.
The cease-fire took effect at 12 midnight local time [2200GMT] and the decision was celebrated with fireworks in Tripoli.
Drivers sounded their horns to celebrate the truce. After the cease-fire declaration, calm reigned in the capital, according to an Anadolu Agency reporter who was at the scene.
Meanwhile, Transportation Ministry of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) announced it would reopen Tripoli's Mitiga International Airport, which was closed due to Haftar attacks.
The cease-fire announcement came minutes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, held a telephone conversation.
Erdogan and Putin urged a cease-fire Wednesday by Jan. 12, following a meeting in Istanbul.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the cease-fire was a "first step" toward a political solution but cautioned there is a long way to go but the direction is correct.
On April 4, Haftar launched an offensive to capture Tripoli from the GNA. According to the UN, more than 1,000 people have been killed since the start of the operation and greater than 5,000 injured.
Since the ouster of late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and the other in Tripoli, which enjoys the UN and international recognition.