Libya’s newly elected parliament has decided to ask for international assistance to take on militias currently fighting turf wars with heavy weapons in the country’s two biggest cities.

The parliament has called for “United Nations and the Security Council to immediately intervene to protect civilians and state institutions in Libya”.

It remains unclear how the international community will respond to the call. While the fighting has been condemned by the US and governments in Europe, they have shown little appetite for military action.

A UN delegation held talks in Tripoli on 8 August in an attempt to negotiate a ceasefire between the groups fighting in the country’s two biggest cities, but so far there has been no sign of any progress.

Amnesty International has warned that the indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas by militias violates international law. There are also growing concerns about a mounting humanitarian crisis, as the fighting disrupts the supply of food, fuel and medical supplies.

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