The spokesman for the Libyan National Army called the battle in the oil crescent an “all out war” as military and local sources said clashes had resumed south of Ras Lanuf.
"The battle in the oil crescent is an all-out war," LNA Spokesman Ahmed al-Mesmari said at a news conference broadcast by a number of satellite channels on Thursday.
Al-Mesmari said that the LNA launched airstrikes against militias led by Ibrahim Jadhran and were chasing them westwards.
"The liberation of the Sidra and Ras Lanuf ports began with air strikes targeting terrorist groups," said Al-Mesmari.
Al- Mesmari also called on the international community to lift the arms embargo against the LNA, which is led by Field Marshall Khalifa Hafter.
"They must act to lift the arms embargo on the Libyan army, he said. The Libyan army has defended the livelihoods of the Libyans and the interests of more than 400 oil companies belonging to foreign countries," he added.
Over the past week, Libya's National Oil Corporation said the group, led by Jadthran had attacked the ports, forcing it to shutter them and causing "catastrophic damage" at Ras Lanuf terminal.
The fate of the ports, two of Libya’s largest, is crucial to the partial, fragile recovery of the country’s oil industry. Their closure has led to production losses of up to 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) from a total national output of little over one million bpd.
Two oil storage tanks had been set on fire since the initial attack, causing damage that the National Oil Corporation has said will take years to repair. On Thursday, an engineer and local witness confirmed that a third tank had started burning, after thick black smoke was seen rising over Ras Lanuf.