The rise of DAESH in Libya

DAESH has extended its presence along some 250 km of Libya's Mediterranean coast on both sides of the coastal city of Sirte, and in January attacked the oil ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The main strongholds of DAESH are centred around the coastal city of Sirte.

Updated Jun 13, 2016

Amidst the prevailing chaos in Libya, DAESH seems to have found a way to not only grow in strength, but also expand in size.

In 2014, the terrorist group announced the formation of its Maghreb and Sahel regions in Derna and has attacked rival governments based in Tripoli and Tobruk.

DAESH has benefited from the decline of some Al Qaeda-aligned groups such as Ansar Al Sharia and the Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade.

Its ideology has attracted militants to pledge allegiance to it. 

It has extended its presence along some 250 km (155 miles) of Mediterranean coast on either side of Sirte, and in January attacked the ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf.

The main DAESH stronghold is centred around the coastal city of Sirte, as the terrorist group is attempting to advance towards nearby oil sites in Es Sider and Ras Lanuf and other ports.

Oil is DAESH’s main source of income.

On May 31, the Petroleum Facilities Guard took control of Nawfiliyah, about 130 km (80 miles) from Sirte, pushing the militant group back towards its stronghold and away from positions near the major oil terminals.

Former Libyan regime officials in Sirte have begun supporting DAESH to avoid being arrested for their loyalty to Gaddafi.

Life of Libyans in DAESH-controlled areas

The UN says that the estimated number of DAESH terrorists in Libya is nearly 5,000.

The group has started to impose its laws on residents living in areas under its control.

The group has set up its own police force, which punishes people for crimes ranging from theft and alcohol production to "spying."

It has sentenced people to prison and subjected them to amputations, public crucifixions and beheadings.

Libyan sources say that most of the DAESH terrorists in Sirte are foreigners from Tunisia, Iraq and Syria.

However, there are Libyans among them, including militants from Benghazi and Derna.

Author: Nebras Ibrahim

TRTWorld and agencies