Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar warned on Sunday that the forces of Khalifa Hifter and their supporters based in eastern Libya would be viewed as "legitimate targets" if they attempted to attack Turkish forces in the region.

Turkey is the main foreign backer of Libya's internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli, which for years has been fighting Hifter's Libyan National Army (LNA). The LNA is backed by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

In October, the GNA and LNA signed a ceasefire agreement and the United Nations has been pushing a political dialogue aimed at elections next year as a solution. Russia on Wednesday called for international efforts toward a peace settlement in Libya to be intensified.