General Hamdi Hassi, an opposition commander in the town of Bin Jawad says that while taking Sirte will “not be easy”, NATO airstrikes have evened the scales between the pro- and anti-government forces.
He says that fighting was ongoing in Nawfaliya, about 100km from Sirte, and scouting parties had found the road towards the Gaddafi stronghold to be heavily mined.
He says that the current opposition strategy is to combine military assault with attempts to win over local tribes who are still loyal to Gaddafi.
Speaking to the Associated Press, he said:
Sirte will not be easy to take. Now because of NATO strikes on [the government’s] heavy weapons, we’re almost fighting with the same weapons, only we have Grad rockets now and they don’t … There’s Gaddafi and then there’s circles around him of supporters, each circle is slowly peeling off and disappearing. If they rise up it would make our job easier.”