The AP/Japan Times report below is very interesting and well worth reading. While dissecting the complex security environment in Libya, where many factions fight for control of cities and oil fields, it mentions that witnesses have found ‘sinks full of shaved-off beards and long hair inside a Sirte school taken from Islamic State, suggesting that the militants tried to get rid of their trademark looks before fleeing.’
It goes on to quote from a politician (see below) who claims a significant portion of those fighting for/alongside Daesh are from outside the country – naming Tunisia as a particular source. If these fighters are displaced and seek to return home, this could pose a further issue for Tunisia. The country is struggling to convince European countries to lift travel warnings currently deterring visitors. Last week Russian Federal Agency for Tourism issued a travel warning advising Russian nationals to avoid visiting the country.
From the Japan Times –
Islamic State ranks shed beards, try to blend in as Libya forces push into Sirte stronghold
According to Ziad Hadia, who represents Sirte in the parliament based in eastern Libya, more than 2,000 Islamic State fighters are thought to remain in the city. Foreign fighters, mostly from Tunisia and sub-Saharan Africa, account for more than 85 percent of the fighters, he added.
The Western-backed unity government, in the absence of an organized and unified army, has depended on the Misrata militias, among the country’s most powerful.
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