Libya: the strategic battle of Sirte

A general view of a petrochemical installation in the oil-rich town of Ras Lanouf on August 24, 2011 about 150 kilometers east of Sirte, the gateway to the oil crescent. AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

Text by: Mathieu Galtier Follow

On the strength of its recent victories over the men of Khalifa Haftar, the Government of National Unity (GNA), recognized by the international community, decided on Saturday June 6 to attack the city of Sirte, located 450 km east of the Libyan capital. His control would open the doors of the oil terminals controlled by Haftar.


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From our correspondent in Tunis,

Control of Sirte has been a major issue since 2011. It is the western gateway to the oil crescent, located in the center of the Libyan coast and which brings together the main oil terminals. If the forces of the Government of national unity of Tripoli seize Sirte, they will be within tank range of the first black gold sites.

For Haftar's army, control of the city poses a constant threat to the enemy city of Misrata, 250 km to the west, from which the main pro-Tripoli armed groups come.

Sirte has become the unofficial border since 2014 and the political split of Libya. Owning the city means taking a territorial ascendancy.

The city is also the stronghold of Kadadhfa, the tribe of the former dictator Gaddafi. Their support continues to constitute an important social and tribal force despite the fall of their hero.

Finally, Sirte is an access point to the Libyan desert. It is also south of Sirte that would be grouped the last supporters of the Islamic State who had taken over the city from 2015 to 2016. Syrte was then the first bastion of the terrorist group outside the Iraqi zone. Syrian.

Visiting Cairo, Khalifa Haftar accepted the ceasefire proposal from Monday proposed by one of his closest supporters, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.

► Read also: Libya: the international game behind the announcement of a resumption of discussions

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  • Libya
  • Khalifa Haftar

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