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Requests for U.S. Airstrikes in Sirte | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Forces loyal to Libya’s UN-backed unity government patrol the entrance of Sirte as they advance to recapture the city from the Islamic State (IS) group on June 10, 2016 (AFP Photo/Mahmud Turkia

Cairo – In a sudden development, military operations of the Solid Structure sent a letter to the Prime Ministry of the Government of National Accord headed by Fayiz al-Sarraj calling for U.S. airstrikes on ISIS in Sirte.

In the letter, Solid Structure said they want the help of the U.S. warplanes to target ISIS locations in Sirte with prior mapping out and laying of target spots by the operation on the ground.

Libyan official news agency published excerpts of the letter that said that some dangerous targets are inside the city and targeting them requires military techniques that are unavailable at the Solid Structure.

Nothing has been confirmed by the spokesperson of the operations Mohammed al-Ghasra and the media bureau did not respond to any of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper questions on Sunday.

The operation room declared that fierce clashes are still ongoing in Sirte which led to the death of 338 soldiers and injury of 1500 others. The room explained that the nature of the city and the enemy’s mode of action is delaying the liberation and causing this high number of casualties.

Operation room briefed on the military operations saying that the forces were able to gain control over al-Dollar neighborhood except certain areas that were full of landmines.

Meanwhile, the Presidential Council of the U.N.-proposed government said it allocated 150 million Libyan dinars to the Local Governing Ministry so that it distributes them to municipalities. The Minister of Local Governing said the money will be distributed next week as per the second chapter of the budget.

This comes after Sarraj government agreed with an armed platoon that controls the two major oil ports Ras Lanuf and Es Sier.

The ports had been shut down since December 2014 and they agreed to end blockade and restart exports.

Member of Libyan Presidential Council Mousa al-Kouni signed the agreement late on Thursday with commander of the Libyan Petroleum Facilities Guards Ibrahim al-Jathran one of Libya’s many armed brigades that has controlled the terminals.

Kouni said that he thinks the resumption depends now on technicalities and will take place in a week or two, but not more.

He added that the agreement included paying salaries, an unspecified amount, to Jathran’s forces who had not been paid in 26 months.

For his part, Libyan Petroleum Facilities Guards spokesperson Ali al-Hasi said that the opening date of the ports had not been determined yet.

Opening the two oil ports would add a potential 600,000 barrels per day of capacity to Libya’s exports.

Experts estimate damage from fighting and the long stoppage must be repaired before shipments are at full capacity again.