LIBYAPROSPECT – London
The Head of the Presidential Council (PC) of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al-Sarraj, said that defeating the Islamic State (IS) in Libya won’t be realized without a united military command that integrates all important armed groups.
He told Agency France Press that “we believe there is no other solution to fight the group but through a united military command that unites Libyans from across the country.”
Dozens of armed groups proliferated inside Libya, kept their weapons depot after Gaddafi was ousted in 2011, while the army is divided among the internationally supported Al-Sarraj government in Tripoli and the parallel unrecognized government on the eastern side of Libya.
The IS took advantage of the prevailed chaos to establish back the foothold in the oil-rich country. Since May, the Operation “Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous” battle the group in Sirte to liberate the coastal city.
Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous forces are widely supported across western areas affiliated to the unity government, but not the Operation Dignity forces that led by the retired General Khalifa Haftar, who separately wage military operations against Islamists in Benghazi.
The Operation Dignity forces refuse to join the military operations under Al-Sarraj command, claiming that the forces battling the IS in Sirte, formed of militias from western Libya, are “outlawed groups,” as expressed by Haftar.
The forces loyal to Al-Sarraj’s government advanced during first weeks in Sirte before slowing down after reaching out strikes of residential areas.
Al-Sarraj declared, in a written response to AFP questions that “the recent slowdown is for the safety of civilians used by the IS as human shields.”
But he stressed that the IS elements are trapped in a limited area inside Sirte, confirming that the final victory is just a matter of time, hoping it will be very soon.
Government officials estimate the number of the civilians trapped inside Sirte as 30 thousand, as most of the inhabitants, 120 thousand residents, left the city.