TRIPOLI, Libya, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Forces of Libya's strongman General Khalifa Haftar took control of the oil ports after days of fighting against a rival militia.
The violence further amplifies the existing deep political division in the north African country.
Shortly after the so-called "Benghazi Defense Brigades" launched an attack against the oil ports controlled by Haftar's forces, the eastern-based parliament voted to withdraw from the United Nations-sponsored peace talks.
"Fighting in the the oil ports is an extension of the political division in the country," Al-Mabruk Khalifa, a writer in Tripoli, told Xinhua. "Taking over the oil ports would be a major control boost for any party."
"Libya is divided between east and west, with no signs of agreement between rival factions. The future is still unclear," Khalifa added.
Haftar's forces took over the oil terminal in September 2016 after defeating the militias which were controlling them at the time.
The armed forces are still engaged in a war against militant groups in eastern Benghazi.
Escalating violence and fighting in the oil ports significantly decreased the production of oil, the country's main source of income.
Libya's daily production of oil, at around 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) before 2011, dropped to 700,000 bpd last February.
Meanwhile, violent clashes continue in Tripoli between militias loyal to two rival governments: the UN-backed government of national accord, and the deposed national salvation government.
Although Libya's political parties signed a UN-sponsored peace deal and appointed a national accord government, the country is still struggling to make a democratic transition.