Anti — 15 March 2016

Mar 15, 2016 | Libyan actors


In eastern Libya, the Libyan National Army (LNA) continues to consolidate its gains in Benghazi against a coalition of jihadists affiliated with the Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council (BRSC), Ansar Al Sharia (AAS) and ISIS. The LNA has succeeded in confining these groups to the southwestern areas of the Benghazi, mainly Guwarsha and Ganfuda, as well as, Sabri and Souq al Hout near the city center. As LNA forces took additional territory in Benghazi, they retrieved controversial photographic and video material. Most damaging was a set of photos that show Al Nabaa news channel reporters openly mingling with, and interviewing, ISIS and AAS fighters.

On 7 March, the Libyan Air Force (LAF) reportedly received four Mi-18 helicopter gunships at the Tubruq Airbase. Then, on 8 March, the LAF carried out its first nighttime airstrikes against jihadists in south Benghazi destroying three supply trawlers off the coast.


In Derna, the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council (DMSC) is currently exhibiting signs of fracture between pro-LNA fighters and others more inclined towards AAS. Although AAS has remained dormant in Derna, having opted for neutrality against ISIS, the group continues to support the fight against the LNA. After the execution of an ISIS member captured by the DMSC, his family blocked a main road in the city on 13 March to protest his killing.


Aircraft from Misrata have ramped up airstrikes on ISIS targets in Sirte throughout last week, including a raid on 9 March that caused civilian casualties. Other unidentified aircraft struck the Ghardabiya Airbase south of Sirte on 14 March. According to a report by the UN Panel of Experts published last week, Misrata has received significant external support to build up its air force. This support is likely in preparation for an imminent ground offensive. Fighters from Misrata, and other cities in the region, are expected take part under the tutelage of the UN-endorsed Government of National Accord.