New regime forces regroup after Sirte reverse

AFP , Friday 14 Oct 2011

New regime forces in Libya regroup for a new bid to take full control of Muammar Gaddafi's hometown Sirte after a reverse at the hands of the fugitive strongman's remaining loyalists

 National Transitional Council (NTC) troops remained in the central police headquarters to which they retreated two kilometres (more than a mile) on Thursday under heavy fire from Muammar Gaddafi forces, an AFP correspondent reported.

The loyalists, who are holed up in the Dollar and Number Two residential neighbourhoods in northwest Sirte, have been putting up an unexpectedly dogged resistance that has scotched NTC hopes of a swift mopping-up operation.

"Yesterday evening, we used artillery cannon to shell the neighbourhoods," said Nasser Moghassabi, a frontline field commander of the Martyrs of Free Libya Brigade.

"The situation today remains the same. We are still surrounding the two neighbourhoods," he told AFP.

"In the morning, we have sent in a scouting team and very soon we will decide on the next plan of action."

An NTC doctor, Yussef al-Badri, said: "We tried to go close to the neighbourhood where the fighting is still on, but our scouting team turned us back because there are snipers."

The AFP correspondent said the bulk of NTC troops to the east of the two neighbourhoods remained holed up in the police HQ.

"We still have to clean some rubbish that is left in the city. We are waiting for orders. Very soon the Sirte battle will be over, but the Libyan war will be over only with the capture of Gaddafi," fighter Abdul Salam Farjani said.

The AFP correspondent said three tanks were brought up and were preparing to shell and destroy a military command centre seen as a symbol of Gaddafi's rule.

Search Keywords:
Short link: