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ISIS Flees Sirte Holdout, National Army Advances in Benghazi - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Cairo- Despite claims on securing the final group of buildings formerly occupied by ISIS hardliners in the Libyan city of Sirte, Government National Accord military leaders and forces said yesterday said that the announcement of officially liberating the city may be up for delay.

The announcement would be put off for some time until mine fields and booby planted by the extremist organization are neutralized and defused.

Libyan forces backed by U.S. air strikes had made advances against the Sirte ISIS holdout after a near seven-month battle for the militant group’s former North African stronghold.

The Special Representative of the Secretary General for Libya, Martin Kobler, stressed to the Security Council the need to tackle outstanding political questions, noting a path forward should consist of inclusive, peaceful dialogue, and never military escalation. “The only alternative to the Libyan Political Agreement is chaos,” he said. In Benghazi, the Libyan National Army continues to make progress, taking area after area, he added.

United States Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner expressed growing concerns for the escalation of violence among street militias in Tripoli, and urged all warring parties to answer to the GNA’s call for ceasefire.

“First of all, Libya. The United States expresses its deep concern over the escalation of violence between armed groups in Tripoli and calls on all the parties to immediately heed the Government of National Accord’s appeal to cease fighting. We urge all parties to de-escalate tensions in the capital and respect the terms of the Libyan political agreement, including security arrangements for the withdrawal of armed groups from Libyan cities and their replacement with government army and police units.”

“ We reiterate our support – our strong support for Prime Minister Fayiz al-Saraj and the GNA and for the quick restoration of order and security for the people of Libya,” said Toner.

That would be the first official U.S. statement shedding light on fierce clashes renewing lately in Tripoli, Libya’s capital. Tripoli is in a deteriorating and shaky state, Libya Spokesperson Omar Homaydan told Asharq Al-Awsat.

National Salvation Government of Libya Prime Minister, Khalifa al-Ghawil had inspected the areas that recently went under militia attacks.

Ghawil refuses to recognize Sarraj’s GNA, and has been seeking a political agreement with Libya’s eastern Tobruk government. More so, Ghawil announced forming an evaluation committee that would monitor human loss and pursue the legal proceedings necessary to do right by victims of the attack.

Advisor Aguila Saleh Issa, Libyan Head of the House of Representatives, had met for the first time with a delegation from Ghawil’s administration—Tripoli’s parliamentary spokesperson Homaydan later said that the unique meeting amounted to nothing.