Recent news reports from major news outlets (New York Times, Washington Post, and others) are reporting that U.S. SOF in Libya is providing direct support to Libyan militia groups fighting the Islamic State. The area of the fighting is in the vicinity of Sirte, Libya. Sirte is a seacoast city about halfway between Tripoli and Benghazi. At one time the Islamic State controlled almost 100 miles of coastline; but recent military offensives by Libyan militias have cut this territory down in size.
U.S. airstrikes are taking its toll on the Islamic State; however, it will take ground forces to truly destroy ISIS (it always does). It remains to be seen if the various militia groups currently in the fight stick together in this current offensive or if they split apart and start attacking each other once again.
U.S. special operations forces are likely calling in air strikes and other U.S. military assets are probably conducting ISR missions to keep the intelligence picture current. U.S. air strikes started up again about one week ago and over 30 militant targets have been hit so far.
The use of small special operations forces to advise and assist militia groups in Libya is focused on the degrading and defeat of ISIS in Libya. Hopefully these small SOF teams can help the Libyans eliminate the ISIS threat.
Read more in “US Special Operations providing direct, on-the-ground support in Libya”, Stars and Stripes, August 9, 2016.