Bunyan Marsus Declares Victory Against IS in Sirte
Declaration of victory in Sirte may strengthen GNA or spark further conflict in Tripoli
On 5 December, al-Bunyan al-Marsus forces announced mission accomplished in Sirte against IS, declaring a final and total breakdown in IS ranks with many of their militants surrendering themselves to BM. According to the BM spokes-room, there are still some clashes in the Jiza al-Bahriya area with some remnants who are still trying to fight it out.
The full state of the situation is yet to settle but the political impact and ramifications are likely to be huge. If the fallout is handled positively, it could bolster the GNA and raise the stakes for Misrata and the western region in supporting the LPA. Negatively, if it is mishandled and conflict breaks out in Tripoli, pulling in forces from Misrata, this could be the death knell for the LPA and the GNA. Less than two weeks to the significant 17 December date, continued collapse and dysfunction may fuel the forces of conflict between Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) and the western region militias and could play into what PC member Ali al-Gutrani has demanded; a transitional process to hand over government to the LNA and HoR.
You can read more about these developments from the Libya Herald here.
It has taken eight months, the lives of at least 712 Bunyan Marsous fighters (three of them in the final 24 hours) and the wounding, sometimes catastrophically of 3,210 more, but today the guns fell largely silent over Sirte as the last IS terrorists were killed or surrendered….
The final collapse of resistance may have had something to do with yesterday’s intense air onslaught. US Africa Command said there had been 15 airstrikes on 42 different terrorist positions. This brought to 492 the number of air raids the US has launched since it began supporting BM operation on 1 August. The beachside properties in which IS made their final stand and much of the surrounding Ghiza neighbourhood have been reduced to rubble.
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