Heavy Artillery Strikes Reported Against ISIS in Sirte
Declaring on Twitter that “the countdown has begun,” officials of the Libyan “unity government” continue to present a full military victory over ISIS as inevitable and likely to happen in extremely short order, with some saying the whole victory will only take 2-3 days.
Artillery and air strikes against the ISIS-held city of Sirte were reported, and unity government officials claimed urban combat inside the city, though as with yesterday their specifics all give the impression that what fighting is happening on the ground is well outside the city itself. One report did suggest they’d taken the port, however, on the city’s outskirts.
Reports have estimated ISIS has around 1,800 fighters in Sirte, and several thousand more elsewhere in the country, and even though the unity government’s military amounts to little more than the remnants of the Petroleum Facilities Guard, they seem to believe victory is going to happen quickly and with few losses.
ISIS meanwhile doesn’t appear to be making any serious attempts to abandon Sirte in favor of another, more defensible site elsewhere, though the group does have a presence elsewhere in the country. The unity government’s control extends to only a tiny fragment of Tripoli, though they now claim to control the empty desert around the crossroads between Misrata and Sirte and a pair of villages that ISIS fled from along the way.
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