This reporting period has seen major gains by the predominantly backed Misratan forces from the west as the advancement toward Sirte continues. To the east, a separate force from the oil facilities guard and loyal to the U.N.-backed government captured two small towns from Islamic State earlier in the week. The U.N.-backed government's Prime Minister Faiez Serraj stated on Friday that it was too early to give a time frame for the battle for Sirte but that he was confident that Libyan forces could unite to retake the city.
Most of Sirte's population of about 80,000 is thought to have fled. The Brigades representative said residents who remain would be given a chance to escape before the government-backed brigades advanced into residential areas. Hundreds of families stranded in Sirte sent messages for help as residents who managed to escape said life is tragic in the city with lack of food and medicine.
Migration has continued to be a cause for concern as the International Red Cross reported that nearly 900 people have drowned in the last 10 days. On Friday, a boat with 700 migrants sank as the coast guard rescued around 340 and the remainder are still missing.
The bodies of more than 100 migrants and refugees whose boat capsized while trying to cross to Europe washed ashore on Friday. At least 40 of the 107 victims found on beaches near the Libyan city of Zuwara were women and five of them were children.
Tripoli and the western area of Libya has seen a sharp contrast from the previous week with no reports of clashes or tension within the city. The arrival of 112.5 million newly printed bank notes were welcomed as the Ramadan period commenced. Two murders took place in the south of the city but these were assessed as more criminal related.
The heaviest fighting this week was again reported on the outskirts of Sirte. On Wednesday, Misratan forces had gained ground south of the city and at a power station to the west. Reported to have faced four suicide car bombings, two of which had exploded before reaching their targets. In the fighting, they lost 10 men and another 40 injured. The brigades had already seen 75 of their fighters killed and more than 350 wounded before the latest casualties.As the advance progressed, the operations room confirmed on Saturday they had captured Ghardabiya air base, which was strategically significant since it cut off supply routes for Islamic State and "trapped them further" within the city. The air force carried out 10 sorties targeting ISIS as they fled leaving mines and IED’s in their wake.
The eastern fighting units of the Oil Facilities Guard of Ibrahim Jodrans forces took control Tuesday of Al-Naufileya town, which lies 120 km to the east of Sirte and they are now commencing mine clearance operations in coordination with the GNA command.
In the east, airstrikes and shelling continued as militants are still being flushed from their positions. Sunday saw the LNA established a cordon around the Sabri area of town in Benghazi. Reports indicated that the LNA was preparing for an offensive in the area. This was followed up in the afternoon with explosions and shots coming from the area.
Two important forces in eastern Libya, the Special missions force in the fight against terrorism and a brigade of military intelligence announced on Saturday their rally to the government of national unity (GNA), a valuable support for this organisation struggling to establish its authority in the eastern part of the country.
General Hafter has remained anonymous this week as he continues his engagements in Benghazi ignoring the request from the UN and the GNA for a cease-fire.