The Misratan-led Bunyan Marsus coalition made great gains against ISIS in Sirte, pushing ISIS out of its stronghold in Ouagadougu Centre, Ibn Sina Hospital and Sirte University on 11 August. All three buildings were bastions of ISIS rule in the city, and the group’s downfall represents a significant degradation of its presence and control. These victories were supported by US airstrikes and tactical support to Bunyan Marsus ground forces. Bunyan Marsus is now moving north to Hay 1, 2 and 3, the more suburban parts of the city near the coastline, where tough guerrilla warfare is expected to occur in the coming days or weeks. Paradoxically, the GNA’s impending victory over ISIS is also a moment of rapid decline in its legitimacy. This observation was recognized by UN special envoy Martin Kobler in a recent interview, saying that popular support for the GNA is crumbling due to worsening economic and security conditions throughout Libya.
The Washington Post reported that US Special Operations forces are providing direct, on-the-ground support for Bunyan Marsus fighters battling the ISIS in Sirte. The US troops were tasked with coordinating American airstrikes and providing intelligence as the coalition ousted ISIS from its stronghold in the city center. A total of 48 US airstrikes have taken place steadily since 1 August, targeting ISIS positions throughout Sirte.
Italy appointed a new ambassador to Libya, while members from the Italian Senate called for a European summit on Libya to address the shortfalls of the Libyan Political Agreement and the significant gaps in US, UK and EU policy towards Libya’s various factions.