Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) forces are 50 km away from the centre of Sirte and ready to seize the strategic central city, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday, citing a military official.
Turkish-backed GNA army forces are advancing towards Sirte upon orders of Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of the country’s internationally recognised government, Libyan army field commander, Maj. Gen. Hussein al-Shaltati, said.
Since April 2019, the GNA has been fighting to stave-off an offensive by the Libyan National Army (LNA) to seize capital Tripoli. In recent weeks, LNA forces have suffered heavy losses as Turkey’s military support provided an upper hand to the GNA in the North African country.
“We are awaiting instructions. Our forces receive additional support from Operation Volcano of Rage, which sends additional forces to this front. God willing, we will complete the necessary preparations and continue to move towards Sirte,” Anadolu quoted al-Shaltati as saying.
The GNA campaign into central Libya follows the recent capture of the last major LNA stronghold in Tarhuna.
The GNA commander expressed his appreciation to experts who came from Turkey to demine explosives planted by the LNA and to ensure a safe return of civilians to their homes, Anadolu said.
Turkey has provided the GNA with weapons, militants from Syria and military know-how while the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia similarly support the LNA.
“We are ready to enter Sirte and clean all its areas from (Khalifa) Haftar’s militia,” Anadolu quoted army captain Abdel-Hamid Abu Zayyan, as saying, referring to LNA commander.