UN calls for protection of civilians in Libya

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Fighters of the UN-backed government forces of Libya are seen in south of Tripoli, Libya, on Dec. 2, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Libya Yacoub El Hillo on Monday condemned airstrikes in Libya during the past few days, calling for protection of civilians in the country.

"El Hillo condemns in the strongest terms the airstrikes that took place in the past few days in different parts of Libya, causing the deaths of civilians, the majority of whom were children and women," the office of the UN humanitarian coordinator in Libya said in a statement.

On Sunday, the UN-back government forces said that 14 children and two women have been killed by airstrikes carried out by the eastern-based army in southern Tripoli and the southern town of Um Al-Aranib since Nov. 29.

The eastern-based army did not comment on the civilian casualties so far.

"Civilians in Libya, mainly children, continue to pay the ultimate price of a conflict which was not caused by them ... I am appalled by these horrific attacks, which constitute another blatant violation of international humanitarian and human rights law," El Hillo said.

El Hillo called on the rival parties in Libya to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law to protect children and civilians.

"Such merciless attacks against civilians, health workers, as well as civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and schools must end immediately," El Hillo demanded.

The capital Tripoli has been witnessing a violent war for nearly eight months between the UN-backed government and the eastern-based army, which is trying to take over the city and overthrow the UN-backed government.

The violence has killed and injured thousands of people, and also displaced more than 120,000 people from their homes.

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