Defense News - Libya
|Thursday, August 25, 2011, 9:39 PM|
Sweden Prime Minister Ready to send to troops to Libya
According to AFP British and French special forces have been working with Libyan rebels on the eastern front, where the insurgents scored strategic blows against Moamer Kadhafi's forces. An AFP journalist spotted these undercover soldiers on Thursday.
The operatives are installed at the rebel command for the eastern front, at the dysfunctional oil refinery in Zuwaytina, about 150 kilometres (93 miles) southwest of the opposition capital Benghazi.
They are equipped with telecommunications equipment and housed in two shipping containers, within walking distance of the headquarters of Fawzi Bukatif, commander of the eastern front.
He has been working out of a large office with walls covered in maps and satellite photos.
There are at least two Frenchmen, and several Britons in mismatched camouflage outfits.
In late April, Britain, France, Italy, Egypt and the United States announced that they had sent military advisers to the National Transitional Council, the rebels' de facto government.
Defence Secretary Liam Fox said Thursday that NATO is contributing intelligence and reconnaissance equipment to the search for Kadhafi but he refused to confirm reports that SAS special forces were working with the Libyan rebels to track down Kadhafi.
"I can confirm that NATO is providing intelligence and reconnaissance assets to the NTC (National Transitional Council) to help them track down Colonel Kadhafi and other remnants of the regime," who fled before advancing rebel forces on Tuesday, he told Sky News.
The Ministry of Defence said Fox was referring to "various assets such as military planes."
The Daily Telegraph newspaper, quoting defence sources, said SAS members were sent to Libya several weeks ago and played a key role in coordinating the battle for Tripoli.
With the majority of the capital now in rebel hands, the SAS had been ordered to switch their focus to hunting down Kadhafi, the Telegraph said.
They were wearing civilian clothes and armed with the same type of weapons used by the rebel forces, the paper said.
"We never comment about special forces," Fox said in a separate interview with BBC radio.
French TACP team (Archive)
Likewise, the French Chief of Staff refused to confirm any French special forces involvment despite NATO offcials declarations as repored in the NewYork Times:
Like in the Afghan theatre, TACP (Tactical Air Control Party) are essential to guide and coordinate allied air strikes.