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Second Gulf of Sidra offensive
For other uses, see Battle of Sirte.
The Second Gulf of Sidra offensive was a military operation in the Libyan Civil War conducted by rebel anti-Gaddafi forces in August and September 2011 to take control of towns along the Gulf of Sidra in an effort to surround Muammar Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte, which was held by pro-Gaddafi forces. It ended on 20 October, when Muammar Gaddafi and his son Mutassim Gaddafi were killed along with former defense minister, Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr. The Gaddafi loyalists in the area were finally defeated when NTC fighters captured Sirte.[19][20][21]
Second Gulf of Sidra offensive
Part of Libyan Civil War
Date22 August – 20 October 2011
LocationLibyan Coastal Highway
ResultAnti-Gaddafi Victory
  • Anti-Gaddafi forces capture Ra's Lanuf, Bin Jawad and Nofaliya in late August
  • Anti-Gaddafi forces start a full-scale attack on Sirte on 15 September, but are repulsed three times by 29 September[2]
  • New opposition attack on Sirte in October that leads to the capture of the city by anti-Gaddafi forces on 20 October
Belligerents
NATO command[1]
Commanders and leaders
Col. Hamid Hassy
Mustafa Bin Dardef [3][4]
Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr [6]
Mansour Dhao (POW)[7]
Abdel Rahman Abdel Hamid (POW)[8]
Strength
16,000 fighters[9]
163[10]–900[11]technicals
1,000[10]–5,000[12] fighters
Casualties and losses
437 killed[13]236[14]-903[15] killed*
800 civilians killed (NTC claim)[16]
2,151 civilians killed (Loyalist claim)[17][18]
Based largely on unconfirmed rebel and civilian claims
Background
Following the success of rebels hostile to the Gaddafi government in Tripoli, rebels in Brega made advances, taking over the entirety of the oil port town of Brega including its residential, industrial and port areas. They then planned to advance westwards.
Rebel offensive
22 August
A spokesman for the National Liberation Army said on 22 August that Gaddafi's forces had finally retreated westward to Sirte and all of Brega was under the opposition's control.[22] This was later denied by Ahmed Omar Bani, the rebels' military spokesman, who said the eastern "front is still at Brega".[23] Loyalists near Sirte fired a scud missile at Misrata.[24]
23 August
However, a day later, it was confirmed that rebel forces managed to capture the village of El Agheila and were on their way to Ra's Lanuf.[25] Ra's Lanuf fell to the opposition soon after and they were on the outskirts of the small town of Bin Jawad, 150 km east of Gaddafi's home town of Sirte.[26]
It was also reported by Reuters that rebels were negotiating with Sirte leaders to enter the city without bloodshed.[27]
Rebels managed to advance to the outskirts of the small coastal town of Bin Jawad, resulting in the Second Battle of Bin Jawad, but were unable to progress further due to heavy loyalist resistance in the area.[28]
More scud missile were fired at Misrata, all reportedly either falling into the sea or causing no damage upon landing [29]
24 August
On 24 August, a heavy loyalist artillery bombardment caused the rebels to retreat 20 km from Bin Jawad to Sidra.[30] During the fighting, loyalists ambushed the advancing rebels once again at Bin Jawad, in an echo of an earlier defeat in March. Twenty rebel fighters died in the clashes.[31][32]
25 August
RAF Tornado aircraft attacked a military bunker in Sirte with precision guided missiles, in an attempt to destroy the government's remaining command and control capabilities, ahead of the rebels planned offensive on the city. NATO aircraft also destroyed 29 armoured vehicles which were moving to Misrata.[33] The rebels, for their part, retreated further to Ra's Lanuf to put themselves out of range of rockets fired by pro-Gaddafi forces.[34]
27 August
Rebels claimed sending a brigade to negotiate the surrender of Sirte.[35] Al Jazeera English reported that there were negotiations between rebels and loyalists in Ra's Lanuf.[36] Later that day, rebel forces were able to recapture Bin Jawad and move closer to Sirte.[37]
28 August
NLA forces advanced on two fronts towards the town of Nofaliya, which was captured later that day.[38][39]
30 August
The National Transitional Council gave the loyalists in Sirte a four-day-ultimatum to surrender or to face military assault.[40]
1 September
The ultimatum was extended for another week by the NTC. A spokesman stated that Sirte had no economic importance and that the rebels would not risk casualties for it. Meanwhile, negotiations between tribal leaders from Nofaliya and the Bin Jawad area (on NTC behalf) and from Sirte were still ongoing.[41] The NLA forces claimed that Harawa, a village 50 km east of Sirte, had surrendered.[42] NATO bombardment of the area continued unabated, independent of the NTC ultimatums.[43]
4 September
A NLA commander claimed that the village of Umm El Ghindel agreed to lay down their weapons.[44] Reuters reported that the NLA raised their flag on the entry of the village.[45]
6 September
NLA forces advanced 8 km towards Sirte, meeting heavy resistance from loyalist forces. One NLA fighter died in the fighting and at least one loyalist was killed and another wounded. Both sides engaged in artillery duels during the day and three loyalist vehicles were bombed by NATO and two others captured by the NLA. According to frontline commanders, the clashes occurred when a recon patrol was attacked by loyalists and that the attack on Sirte had yet to begin.[3] Also, to the west of Sirte, NTC forces overran a tribal encampment without resistance, taking over 100 assault rifles and some machineguns.[46]
8 September
An NLA commander claimed that the Red Valley, east of Sirte, was captured by NLA forces.[47] Eight rebels and three loyalists were killed during the fighting in the valley and one pro-Gaddafi fighter was captured.[48]
9 September
Opposition forces engaged loyalist troops near Sirte, in the Red Valley,[49] during the night but withdrew after suffering heavy casualties.[50]
10–14 September
During a period of heavy fighting, in which opposition forces attempted to advance toward Sirte but made only gains of a few kilometers, at least 80 rebel fighters were killed.[51] According to the Misrata Military Council, the living conditions inside Sirte were worsening. The city suffered from a lack of water and food.[52]
15-18 September
Main article: Battle of Sirte (2011)
On 15 September, NLA forces based out of Misrata moved into Sirte from the west. Opposition troops initially made some gains by capturing the airport south of the city and penetrating the city limits. But by 18 September, the rebels had retreated to the city's outskirts after encountering stiff resistance from well-armed loyalists and suffering heavy casualties.[53]
At the same time, eastern NLA forces captured the village of Harawa in an attempt to support forces from the west which were already engaged in a battle for Sirte itself.[54]
20 September
On 20 September, Al Jazeera reported that eastern NLA forces finally reached the eastern gates of Sirte and thus put Sirte under effective siege from all sides.[55] However, later reports put opposition forces at the town of Khamseen, still another 50 kilometers east of Sirte, facing stiff resistance from loyalist troops.[56]
24 September
On 24 September, NTC forces made another attempt at storming Sirte and captured a few neighbourhoods in the western part of the city. But by the next morning, they again retreated from the western part of Sirte, after meeting strong resistance from loyalist forces.[57] To the east, NLA troops advanced to within 20 kilometers of Sirte.[58]
26 September
Opposition forces continued their offensive against Sirte with NTC tanks shelling the city center from a distance of 2 kilometers from the western outskirts. Meanwhile, the main opposition eastern assault body fought their way to 10 kilometers of the town.[59]
NATO strikes
20 August-20 September NATO Strikes
DateVehiclesTanksMissiles and Missile LaunchersBuildingsRadar and Antennas
20 August[60]0001 Command and Control Node0
24 August[61]001 Surface to Surface Missile Support Vehicle00
25 August[62]29 Armed Vehicles001 Command and Control Node0
26 August[63]11 Armed Vehicles, 3 Logistic Military Vehicles, 1 Armoured Fighting Vehicle001 Military Observation Point, 2 Military Shelters, 1 Military Engineer Asset0
27 August[64]1 Armoured Fighting Vehicle01 Surface to Surface Supply Vehicle00
28 August[65]3 Military Support Vehicles020 Surface to Air Missile Canisters, 2 Surface to Air Missile Systems04 Radar Systems, 1 Antenna
29 August[66]22 Armed Vehicles, 2 Military Support Vehicles02 Surface to Air Missile Systems3 Command and Control Nodes, 1 Command Post, 1 Military Facility4 Radar Systems
30 August[67]12 Armed Vehicles301 Command and Control Facility, 1 Military Facility, 1 Command Post1 Radar System
31 August[43]1 Armed Vehicle15 Surface to Air Missile Transloaders, 4 Surface to Air Missile Launchers, 1 Multiple Rocket Launcher1 Command and Control Node0
1 September[68]2 Armed Vehicles, 2 Military Trucks17 Surface-to-Air Missile Launchers, 3 Surface-to-Air Missile Launchers1 Command and Control Node/Ammo Storage Facility0
2 September[69]0311 Surface to Air Missile Canisters1 Ammo Storage Facility, 1 Training Area0
3 September[70]1 Self-propelled Artillery Piece07 Surface-to-Air Missile Canisters, 1 Surface-to-Air Missile System1 Military Barracks, 1 Ammunition Storage Facility, 1 Military Police Camp, 1 Command and Control Node0
4 September[71]2 Armed Vehicles04 Multiple Rocket Launchers, 4 Surface to Air Missile Canisters1 Military Vehicle Storage Facility, 2 Heavy Machine Guns0
5 September[72]4 Armed Vehicles04 Surface to Air Missile Systems1 Military Radar/Communication Site, 1 Command and Control Bunker, 2 Military Settlements0
6 September[73]4 Armed Vehicles, 6 Armoured Fighting Vehicles, 1 Self-propelled Artillery61 Surface to Air Missile Canister, 1 Multiple Rocket Launcher1 Ammo Storage Facility0
7 September[74]5 Armoured Fighting Vehicles, 2 Armed Vehicles0000
8 September[75]2 Armed Vehicles01 Multiple Rocket Launcher00
9 September[76]1 Armed Vehicle01 Multiple Rocket Launcher1 Surface to Surface Missile Facility0
10 September[77]2 Armed Vehicles21 Surface to Air Missile Canister00
11 September[78]7 Armed Vehicles03 Surface to Air Missile Systems1 Military Logistic Facility, 1 Command and Control Node1 Radar System
12 September[79]1 Armed Vehicle, 2 Air Defense Command Vehicles08 Surface to Air Missile Systems, 5 Surface to Air Missile Trailers/Transloaders01 Radar System
13 September[80]1 Armed Vehicle, 2 Anti-Aircraft Guns01 Multiple Rocket Launcher1 Command and Control Node4 Radar Systems
14 September[81]002 Surface to Air Missile Systems1 Command and Control Node, 1 Military Vehicle Storage Facility4 Radar Systems
15 September[82]2 Armed Vehicles14 Multiple Rocket Launchers, 8 Air Missile Systems1 Military Storage Facility0
16 September[83]4 Armed Vehicles08 Air Missile Systems5 Command and Control Nodes3 Radar Systems
17 September[84]1 Armed Vehicle04 Multiple Rocket Launchers, 4 Surface to Air Missile Systems2 Command and Control Nodes0
18 September[85]004 Surface to Air Missile Systems, 1 Multiple Rocket Launcher1 Military Facility, 1 Command and Control Node0
19 September[86]1 Armed Vehicle01 Multiple Rocket System00
20 September[87]016 Air Missile Systems1 Military Vehicle Storage Facility, 2 Military Ammunition/Storage Facilities, 1 Command and Control Node0
Total140181405023
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