Sirte Battleground in Libyan War


Government forces kept up their bombardment of a small area in the center of Sirte on Sunday, trying to smash the remaining pockets of pro-Qaddafi resistance.

NTC militias have besieged Sirte for weeks to tighten their grip to the point where Qaddafi die-hards are surrounded in an area of about two square mile. Green flags, the banner of Qaddafi’s rule, still fly over the area.

Government fighters have said the pocket of resistance was very small but they were being held back by snipers. The often chaotic struggle has cost scores of lives and left thousands homeless.

The failure to seize the final Qaddafi bastions swiftly has also held up attempts by Libya's new leaders to try to build a democratic government, a process they say will begin only after Sirte is captured.

NTC officers say Gaddafi loyalists fear retaliations if they surrender as some captured fighters have been abused.