"We will not stop the military campaign until we extend our control over the Libyan cities and liberate the country from the Russian Wagner militia and the Sudanese Janjaweed that control the oil fields and ports, and on Sirte and Al-Jafra." Thus the internationally recognized national reconciliation government expressed its desire to recover the city of Sirte from the forces of the retired Major General Hifter's successor.
While the Al-Wefaq government continues to send military reinforcements to the border of Sirte, Mustafa al-Majei, a spokesman for the "volcano anger" of the Al-Wefaq government Sunday - in statements to German News Agency - described the military build-up west of Sirte (450 kilometers east of Tripoli) without precedent.
Hifter did not stand idly by in the battle that the world had been watching for weeks. He continued to deploy his armed and mercenaries, the Russian Wagner Company in Sirte and Al-Jafra.
While the two sides of the conflict continue to rally and prepare for the battle, international and regional supporters did not stand idly by. Turkey has expressed support for the restoration of Sirte and its return to the embrace of the internationally recognized government. Libya.
In anticipation of the expected major battle, Russia sent Su-24 fighters and a number of MiG-29 aircraft to Al-Jafra military base (south of Sirte), in addition to Ilyushin-76 military cargo planes, reconnaissance aircraft and air defense platforms.
As for Egypt (one of Haftar's most prominent allies), the latter period has been active on more than one line. The House of Representatives is moving toward voting to give President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi a mandate to intervene militarily in Libya, as the latter is trying to use the tribal cards to give his intervention the legal character, according to analysts.
With the increase in the military build-up and accusations exchanged between the Libyan parties, an important question arises why do these forces compete to control Sirte? What is the strategic and historical importance of this city?
A rich history
Sirte is located in the middle of the Libyan coast and is 450 kilometers east of the capital and about 600 kilometers west of Benghazi. Some accounts indicate that Sirte was built in the tenth century AD by the Fatimids on the ruins of Phoenician cities dating back to the fourth century AD, and modern Sirte was built in the Ottoman era west Historical Sirte.
The residents of this strategic city are distributed among seven Arab tribes, among them the Qaddhafah from which the late President Colonel Muammar Gaddafi hails, along with the children of Suleiman and Al-Furjan from which Haftar hails, Mahamid, groups, and Amamara, and some other small Berber tribes.
During the Italian occupation, Sirte witnessed the famous battle of Al-Qaradabiya in 1915, in which the Mujahideen defeated the Italian army led by General Amiani, and the first national unity conference was held on January 22, 1922, during the days of jihad against the Italian invasion.
With the arrival of Gaddafi to power in 1969, he sought to turn the city into a headquarters for a number of government departments and important ministries during the eighties and nineties, and the urbanization movement developed in it, and he established the huge “Gadougou” conference hall that hosted African and Arab summits and summits, in addition to the main headquarters of the General People's Congress (Parliament), air base, and more.
During the revolution of February 17, 2011, Gaddafi fled to Sirte and declared Medina the capital of him on September 1, 2011 after losing control of Tripoli.
After only 15 days, the revolutionaries entered Sirte, and a fierce battle took place with the Gaddafi Brigades, which surrounded it with tanks and detained the remaining residents as human shields, but the battalions collapsed after a few days, and the city was ravaged by great ruin and destruction.
As Sirte, Gaddafi's hometown, also became the end of his rule, and the place of his killing on October 20, 2011.
After the killing of Gaddafi, the Islamic State took control of the city in 2015, and declared it his capital in North Africa. On May 5, 2016, the Al-Wefaq government announced the start of a military operation called "Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous" to retake Sirte. After several months of fighting, American aircraft carried out raids on sites Organization within the city, which enabled government forces to resolve the battle.
On the sixth of last January, Haftar forces took control of Sirte after an attack by Emirati drones and heavy weapons, forcing the forces of the Al-Wefaq government to withdraw to the Abu Qurain area east of Misrata, with the aim of arranging their ranks to retake the city.
And about 20 meters south of the city, the air base of Qardabiya, which Haftar forces entered after controlling Sirte and used it as a launching pad for the planes to bomb the Al-Wefaq government.
Not far away, we find Al-Jafra Air Force Base in its strategic location in central Libya, about 400 km southeast of Misurata, and it is one of the largest military bases, and aircraft are launched from it to carry out combat and reconnaissance missions. And formed a major operations room for the forces of Haftar and a point of contact with the regions of eastern Libya, specifically Benghazi.
The base of Al-Jafra is also linked to the surrounding of Tripoli and Tarhuna, by two roads, the first one passes through the towns of Al-Shweref and Mazda until reaching Al-Asba and then Tarhuna, and the second is an air line that runs from Al-Jafrah to Bani Walid near Tarhuna.
The strategic importance of Sirte lies in the fact that it mediates Libya and connects the east, west and south, and whoever controls the city controls the oil crescent area in the east of the country, according to Brigadier Abdul Hadi Drah, a spokesman for the Sirte and Al Jufrah Operations Chamber.
Derah added - in a statement to Al Jazeera Net - the city has great political and strategic importance, so Russia is trying to take a foothold in Libya, and is sending MiGs, Sukhoi planes and thousands of mercenaries, pointing out that the potential Egyptian intervention is just turning a blind eye to the Russian presence.
"We killed Gaddafi and liberated Sirte, and we are the ones who eliminated the Islamic State in Sirte, and we are determined to defeat the Haftar project and regain control of Sirte," he said, stressing that Al-Wefaq forces left the field for political solutions in the hope of sparing the city the scourge of war, so if Haftar did not withdraw From the city, we will have no choice but to restore the city by force. "