On 18 September, the GNA’s Misratan-led Bunyan Marsous (BM) forces resumed their ‘final’ push to destroy remaining pockets of ISIS fighters in Sirte after a two-week break. Two ISIS SVBIED’s were destroyed before they could reach their targets, while artillery targeted the coastal 3rd district where ISIS fighters are holding out. Local sources also indicate that on a weekly basis more ISIS members from Derna are reported dead in Sirte. On 18 September, Mohamed Ghasri, a spokesperson for BM forces said “Our forces targeted hideouts of Daesh in Neighbourhood No.3’s 600 block area and Geza Bahriya with heavy artillery shelling,” Ghasri said two ISIS commanders, Hassan Karami and Walid Ferjani, had been killed in fighting inside the city, without giving details.
Clashes between Misratan forces and ISIS units south of Sirte may also indicate that, as predicted, ISIS members have managed to seep south out of the city. On 14 September, ISIS claimed an attack against BM forces in Wadi Jaref, 30 km south west of Sirte. The same day, members of the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) clashed with members of ISIS in Wadi Zamzam, also south west of Sirte.
ISIS released a statement last week claiming responsibility for the two vehicle explosions which took place on 9 September near the Government of National Accord (GNA) building in the Abu Setta Naval Base in Tripoli.
The international community initially condemned the Libyan National Army (LNA)’s seizure of the ports last week. On 13 September, Martin Kobler, the UN Envoy for Libya, was unsuccessful in convincing the UN Security Council to issue a new resolution with punitive measures against Haftar in response to the takeover. However, this reaction provoked an angry backlash throughout the country against what was seen by many Libyans as interference in Libyan affairs.
The tone of international actors changed on 16 and 17 September, welcoming the speedy resumption of exports, the handover of oil ports to the NOC, and encouraging fresh dialogue. The UN Envoy Martin Kobler met with House of Representatives (HoR) President Ageelah Saleh, Presidential Council PM Fayez Serraj, and other key Libyan political actors in Cairo in an attempt to find a compromise and agreement on the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) with a new governing framework.