Only united mil­i­tary ...

Pakistan Observer - - IN­TER­NA­TIONAL -

oust IS from Sirte, 450 kilo­me­tres east of the cap­i­tal Tripoli.

Backed by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, the GNA set up base in Tripoli at the end of March but has strug­gled to as­sert its con­trol over all of Libya.

It has sup­port from some mil­i­tary units and armed groups mainly from west­ern Libya.

But forces based in east­ern Libya, in­clud­ing lo­cal mili­tias and units of the na­tional army loyal to a con­tro­ver­sial gen­eral, Khal­ifa Haf­tar, have not joined with pro-GNA fight­ers in the bat­tle against IS.

Loyalist fight­ers made sig­nif­i­cant early ad­vances in the bat­tle to take Sirte, but the of­fen­sive has slowed in the face of a fierce IS counter-at­tack.Sar­raj said a key rea­son was care that pro-GNA forces were tak­ing for some 30,000 civil­ians es­ti­mated to still be inside the city.

“The slow­down in the ad­vance of pro-gov­ern­ment forces is due to our con­cern for the se­cu­rity of civil­ians who IS has not hes­i­tated to use as hu­man shields,” he said.— AFP

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