Thu Dec 22, 2016 7:24PM
File photo shows a Libyan MiG-23 jet.
File photo shows a Libyan MiG-23 jet.

A fighter jet belonging to Libyan pro-government forces in the northwestern city of Tripoli has crashed, leaving its two crew members dead.

The MiG-23 jet was on a training mission when it went down on Thursday near the town of Tarhuna, located about 60 kilometers southeast of Tripoli, said a military source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The plane had taken off from the airbase attached to Tripoli's Mitiga airport, the source said, adding that the cause of the crash was not immediately known.

The plane belonged to forces loyal to Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), which is facing off with rival factions for control of the chaos-ridden country.

Pro-GNA forces operate a fleet of aging fighter jets inherited after the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

His downfall created a power vacuum in Libya, leading to disorder, chaos and the emergence of numerous militants, including Daesh Takfiri terrorists, who are concentrated in Iraq and Syria.

The aircraft carried out regular sorties against Daesh during an offensive against the terrorists earlier this month that flushed them out of their stronghold in the city of Sirte.

Libya has two rival governments; one based in the eastern port city of Tobruk and the other, which is backed by the UN, in Tripoli.

Despite attempts to establish peace and order, stability is yet to be restored in Libya, which is stuck in political strife and violence.