by WorldTribune Staff, August 14, 2016
The battle to drive Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) out of their coastal stronghold at Sirte “is over,” the spokesman for Libya’s pro-government forces said.
Meanwhile living conditions for the average Libyan is deteriorating.
ISIL “has only control over one sector, residential district one in the heart of downtown Sirte,” Gen. Mohamad Ghassri told AFP on Aug. 14, adding that the residential districts near the waterfront were “currently battle zones.”
Libyan forces “fired machineguns mounted on pick-up trucks and light weapons” at ISIL targets in Sirte as they tried to advance towards an area known as “residential district three” facing the Mediterranean, AFP reported.
The offensive to retake Sirte, the home town of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, began in May and has been backed by U.S. airstrikes. ISIL seized the city in June 2015.
“From a military point of view, the battle (for Sirte) is over,” Ghassri said, adding that “victory” would be announced soon.
Meanwhile, the United Nations envoy to Libya said support for the U.N.-backed unity government appears be “crumbling.”
Increased power outages and a weakening currency that is hitting crucial imports, have left residents infuriated with the Government of National Accord (GNA), Martin Kobler told Switzerland’s Neue Zuercher Zeitung in an interview published on Aug. 12.
Asked about an earlier comment he made that 95 percent of Libyans backed GNA Prime Minister Fayez Seraj, he said: “That was in April. There was a lot of good will then for the unity government. It has lost some support in the meantime.
“At the time Tripoli had 20 hours of electricity a day, now it is 12 … In April people had to pay 3.5 dinars for a dollar. Today it is 5 dinars. That is devastating for an import-oriented economy. Support is crumbling.”