Libyan militia brigades currently allied with the UN backed government in Tripoli claim to have seized a number of key Sirte landmarks from Islamic State, (Daesh) forces in their four month long assault upon the beleaguered coastal town.
Reuters report a spokesperson for the Misratan militia, who are understood to be leading the attack on behalf of the UN sponsored government in Tripoli confirming their fighters had captured a building used by Daesh’s morality police as a prison and the Mosque said to have been used by senior members of Daesh’ forces in Sirte.
However, despite the mostly unconfirmed presence of a number of international special forces‘ detachments among their number, plus continual aerial assaults against Daesh positions from the US, casualties among the advancing militia fighters have been high. Speaking on Monday, a spokesperson for the hospital in Misrata confirmed that at least nine militia fighters had been killed in Sunday’s fighting and 85 wounded, adding to a death toll now far in excess of initial estimates in June that suggested Sirte would be taken, “within days.”
“Dozens” of corpses reported to be those of Daesh fighters have also been discovered within captured territory, the Misratan media office told Reuters. However, they were unable to provide a precise number of the dead or confirm when those fighters might have been killed.
However, despite the slow and costly advance upon the coastal city, Sirte’s eventual fall is looking increasingly assured. However, with the short term military gain that would come with the taking of Sirte, a political victory for the UN backed government in Tripoli receded still further yesterday, with the eastern government’s vote to reject the UN brokered framework which serves as the foundation for the UN’s, Government of National Accord, (GNA) in Tripoli. Yesterday’s vote finally provides form to the overt hostility that has existed between the two power bases since the leaders of the GNA arrived, under intense UN pressure, in Tripoli in March of this year.
Though elements within the previously international recognized, House of Representatives, (HoR) elected amid accusations of violence and intimidation in 2014 have disputed the legitimacy of the vote rejecting the UN appointed body it is not expected that it will be overturned.
Prior to joining Tunisia Live, Simon worked as a freelance journalist. He has lived in Tunisia since 2013 and previously worked in Vietnam and Moscow.