(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Libyan forces continue to make advances against ISIS in Sirte despite being subject to constant terror attacks from the extremist group, and having limited resources.
Knowing that their days in Libya are numbered, ISIS fighters have resorted to planting more lethal Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), and have increased suicide attacks and sniper hits in an attempt to cripple fighters loyal to the UN-backed Libyan unity Government (GNA).
Nabeel Aqoub, a doctor treating the injured arriving from Sirte, said ISIS is shooting to kill. If they are unable to kill they shoot to disable the fighter so he is not able to fight again.
“The snipers attack usually the spine here. They choose to fire at the spine because brain injury and heart injury if he survived, he’s going to fight again,” said Aqoub.
Victory in Sirte will give the GNA more power over Libya and could potentially begin the process of rectifying the chaos that has befallen Libya, which US President Barack Obama calls his worst mistake he made as president.
According to US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, ISIS fighters are now contained in Sirte.
“With the support of our air strikes those forces, those GNA-aligned forces have now cornered ISIL (ISIS) in one small section of the city of Sirte and I expect that they’ll eliminate any remaining opposition shortly,” said Carter to reporters on Wednesday.
Pentagon spokesperson, Peter Cook, said US airstrikes to Libya are intended to “deny ISIL (ISIS) a safe haven in Libya from which it could attack the United States and our allies.”
Almost all of Sirte’s residents fled the city when ISIS took over about two years ago. Now that the city is close to being cleared of ISIS many talk about their hopes for a peaceful Sirte.
“All of us, we hope to finish today before yesterday. We are tired from 2011, war after war. We lost a lot of people,” said Waleed Mohammed, a doctor working in Sirte. “If the patient dies it’s okay but the problem is the handicap. And most of them are teenagers. All of them young active people in our community.”