UN Warns 125,000 Civilians at Risk as Fighting Looms Over Libya’s Sirte

Cautions civilians are 'at great risk' as fighting appears likely

Fighting in Libya has moved away from Tripoli and toward the coastal city of Sirte. That’s a relief for Tripoli, but Sirte is is a substantial city with 125,000 civilians of its own. The UN warns they are “at great risk” if fighting erupts near the city.

That’s a problem wherever fighting goes in Libya, as there is little humanitarian consideration given when fighting breaks out near populated areas, and years of war have left civilians with little food and medicine to survive off of if supplies are stalled.

Major ground combat is just one side of the humanitarian crisis, as Covid-19 is starting to break in  some cities on Libya’s coast. Testing is limited, so the reported cases are still small, but the health care system probably can’t handle a substantial outbreak.

The UN estimates 66,000 internally displaced by war. When fighting picks up, that could multiply alarmingly in very short order.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.