(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Heavy artillery and air raids were fired today by the Government of National
Accord (GNA) forces on targeted areas in Sirte where fighters of ISIS have based themselves since they were last pushed deeper into the city.
The hardest stage in the operation against ISIS has been driving the fighters out of neighbourhoods with civilians. Once GNA forces are able to drive ISIS out of the remaining residential neighbourhoods near the city’s centre there could possible be only 300 ISIS fighter left in the area around Ougadougou hall, a hospital and a university.
Air raids and on-ground fighting against ISIS significantly decreased during the celebration of Eid Al-Firtr last week marking the end of Ramadan. The fighting has since intensified.
Many signs are suggesting ISIS is at its ends. Abnulsana a spokesperson for one of the brigades fighting ISIS explains that ISIS “might have someone important still inside, they are acting like a mad dog in a corner, trying to get out.”
Mohamed Gnaidy, the chief of intelligence for Misrata’s brigade says that it is likely that ISIS fighters will flee to the south following the routes used by smugglers and connect with Boko Haram fighters. There is growing concern that once ISIS leaves Libya they will launch a bombing campaign similar to the one they launched on Iraq’s capital Baghdad after they were kicked out of Falluja.
Gnaidy further speculates that “some of their leaders may have moved south to create a pocket of resistance… After Sirte we can expect explosions in cities and checkpoints.”