The fight against Daesh in Libya continues: Sirte pounded with airstrikes

Published August 21st, 2016 - 07:10 GMT
Smoke from rocket fire rises in Sirte, Libya. (AFP/File)
Smoke from rocket fire rises in Sirte, Libya. (AFP/File)

The air force units of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) have carried out a series of airstrikes against pockets of Daesh terrorists in the northern city of Sirte.

Forces loyal to the GNA said the air operations had been launched in central Sirte and its western region running to the border with Tunisia on Saturday in an attempt to block potential escape routes for the terrorists that are still holed up in the coastal city.

Sitre was Daesh’s only stronghold outside Syria and Iraq before Libyan military factions liberated most of the city in ongoing operations that began in May. Clashes occur between military forces and remaining Daesh militants on the ground in Sirte every now and then.

Daesh exploited the disarray that emerged in Libya following the 2011 overthrow and death of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, taking over a strip of coastal land, including Sirte, in June 2015.

Despite the formation of the internationally-recognized GNA, which emerged from two competing governments in Libya in December 2015, the country has yet to become administratively unified. Military factions allied with renegade General Khalifa Haftar continue to act on their own and without coordination with the GNA. There have been reports that Haftar loyalists have been in contact with foreign forces conducting drone operations in Libya as well.

Forces from several Western countries, including the United States, France and Britain, are in Libya in a purported drone war on Daesh.

The GNA has denounced the presence of the foreign forces, saying it violates Libya’s sovereignty.


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