Friday, 16 September 2011

Fight for Sirte and Bani Walid continues

Hoards of anti-Colonel Mu'ammar Qadhafi fighters have renewed assaults on two of the Leaders strongholds, Sirte and Bani Walid. Gunfire and explosions have been resonating through Bani Walid's hills, 180km south of Tripoli, as the anti Qadhafi fighters make their way to the town.

It has been reported that tanks are also approaching Sirte, just hours after an impromptu attack was pushed back by Qadhafi's loyalists. The latest attempts to seize the two towns come amid Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is visit to Tripoli. Erdogan has met Libya's new leaders in the capital and is currently on a regional tour in Ankara.

The Turkish official's visit follows the state visit of UK's Prime Minister David Cameron and France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, who were the first world leaders to visit Libya since the National Transitional Council (NTC) seized Tripoli.

Judging from the ongoing fighting in both cities it is clear that pro-Qadhafi forces are still going strong and have the capacity to respond. Concern, however, is mounting for the tens of thousands of civilians still believed to be living in both cities, who have been struggling for weeks due to depleted supplies of food and water and electricity shortages.

According to Reuters, fighters loyal to the NTC have already captured a valley leading into Bani Walid following the initial push on Friday. Speaking to the BBC an unnamed NTC official said: “We were planning to hold Friday prayers, God willing, in Bani Walid...As we were about to advance, a clash took place with a surveillance crew made up of two or three enemy vehicles. They shot at us but thank God, we were able to stop them and defeat them."

Sources: BBC News, Reuters, Bloomberg

r more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.

No comments:

Post a Comment