Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Sarraj Forces Receive Western and U.S. Support in its Fights against ISIS in Sirte | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Military Vehicle in Sirte / Reuters

Cairo – Security forces aligned with Libya’s unity government took control of Sirte port; ISIS stronghold west Tripoli. Forces targeted, with heavy artillery, ISIS locations around Ouagadougou conference center.

Libyan military sources said that U.S. warplanes raided on ISIS locations in Sirte. Libyan army officer told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper: “It’s no secret that during the past two days U.S. or western war planes targeted ISIS locations in Sirte.” He added that western coalition backs the military operations of Solid Structure endorsed by al-Sarraj government. Libyan officer also said that there are British Special Forces as well as U.S. forces, in addition to the Italian battleships that can be seen from the shores.

The officer, who refused his name to be published, said that the last U.S. raid was on a building near Ouagadougou center in Sirte.

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said: “We are watching it closely and certainly are encouraged by the progress we see those government forces making,” adding that it would be welcomed if the government was able to fight ISIS on its own without the involvement of U.S. and other nations.

Forces were able to advance swiftly on the east and west sides of Sirte a month after the initiation of “Liberation Sirte” operations on May 12.

Sirte operations room spokesperson Brigadier Mohammed al-Ghosari said that the army forces entered city as there are clashes with snipers on top of buildings and Ouagadougou center.

Ghosari announced that the operation won’t take longer than two or three days.

Coastguard commander for central Libya Colonel Bahhar Reda Issa said that forces are now positioned on the coastline of Sirte and that ISIS won’t be able to escape.

Sirte, hometown of former leader Mohammed Gaddafi, was a stronghold of extremists in Libya for over a year and losing it would mean defeat for ISIS.

Forces allied to unity government are formed of armed groups of several Libyan towns including Misrata, 200 kilometers east of Tripoli. The forces also include Petroleum Facilities guard and army units.