REPORT: Sarraj Welcomes the “Liberation” of Sabratha and Surman by the Same “Gangs” He Fought in 2017 – Al Marsad

[Libya, 13 April 2020] – On Monday the President of the Presidential Council, Fayez Al-Sarraj, blessed the victories of his militias in Surman, Sabratha, and the regions of the West Coast. They had taken over the Criminal Investigation Service, Western Branch, and the Army Room, or what was known as the Anti-ISIS Operations Room, which Sarraj himself established and promoted its commander, Brigadier Omar Abdul-Jalil on 17 February 2018, for his efforts against the “gangs”. Ironically enough, these same “gangs” are today announced as “liberators” by Sarraj.

السراج يرقي آمر غرفة محاربة داعش صبراتة الى رتبة لواء

While Fayez al-Sarraj blessed the achievements of these armed groups today, he had previously paid tribute to the forces that had prevailed over today’s militias in 2017. During 2107 the Anti-ISIS Operations Room in Sabratha fought fiercely against ISIS, its allies of smugglers, criminals, and other Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organizations in addition to regional and tribal armed groups.

Statement by Fayez al-Sarraj on the expulsion of the gangs of Al-Amou, smugglers, and ISIS from Sabratha in 2017

On 6 October 2017, Sarraj had blessed Sabratha’s victories over the terrorist organizations and the leaders of organized crime gangs. Today, 13 April 2020, he blessed the victory of yesterday’s losers, whom he previously had referred as the “gangs”, over the city they have sabotaged and where they burnt dozens of houses to the ground. They also burnt down security institutions belonging to the Ministry of the Interior, notably the police station. The last photo taken today of the police station showed a car with the portrait of the terrorist Wissam bin Hamid.

Since early morning today a total of 6 Turkish warplanes participated in the attack and paved the way for the GNA-affiliated gangs and their armed militias through more than 30 raids, some of which targeted the main operations room. Later, a Turkish frigate bombed various locations in and around the city as confirmed by Ismail Yasha, a Turkish journalist close to the Turkish presidency.

The most notorious star of the GNA operation today was the terrorist Faraj Shakku, who is both a member of the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC), who gave his allegiance to ISIS, and also a member of the Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB)—whose defeat in the Oil Crescent was celebrated by Sarraj. Sarraj had even commended the Libyan National Army (LNA) for getting rid of the Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB) from Benghazi.

Faraj Shakku with BDB and with ISIS in Ganfouda before, archive

Faraj Shakku appeared in a recording today from inside the Security Center and Directorate in Sabratha before subsequent photos showed the place set ablaze as is the customary practice of these terrorist groups. The Islamist Al-Tanasuh Channel, which is affiliated to the radical cleric Sadiq al-Gharyani, celebrated such acts


Furthermore, the internationally-sanctioned human trafficker Abdul Rahman Milad, nicknamed Al-Bija, appeared leading one of the groups that participated in the attack. Fathi Bashagha, the Minister of Interior in the Government of National Accord (GNA) has been denying any links of Al-Bija to the forces under the Government of National Accord (GNA).

Bija appeared in Sabratha with Abd Al-Malik Al-Madani, the spokesperson of the so-called “Military Media of the Volcano of Anger”.

Moreover, last October Fathi Bashagha confirmed that Al-Bija was wanted by the order of the Public Prosecutor in addition to being internationally-sanctioned. However, it seems that Fayez al-Sarraj has another opinion on who belongs to the GNA “the armed forces”.

Tripoli Interior Minister: Human Trafficker Al-Bija Reports to the GNA Naval Forces

In addition, photos of the UN-sanctioned smuggler Mohammed Kachlaf, known as Al-Qasab, also surfaced from. Sabratha. The GNA has always claimed that Kashlaf had nothing to do with it even though he has been in control of the oil refinery in Al-Zawiyah.

Muhammad Al-Arabi Kashlaf, known as ‘Al-Qasab’ in Sabratha today

Therefore, the result achieved today by Sarraj and his militias is the antithesis of 2017 when the Anti-ISIS Operations Room led by Brigadier Omar Abdul-Jalil and from the Western Criminal Investigation Service wrestled Sabratha and Surman away from these terrorist groups. It is the same Abdul-Jalil, the commander of the Army Operations Room in Sabratha, who was a target of the Turkish warplanes when they bombed today his office at dawn in an attempt to kill him.

Al-Sarraj visits Brigadier Abdul-Jalil in Sabratha in 2017

The other notable result is the return of all the human trafficking and fuel smuggling gangs to Sabratha and Surman. Many of them had been hiding in Al-Zawiyah under the protection of the terrorist Shabaan Hidiyya, known as “Abu Ubaida Al-Zawy”, and his companion Mahmoud bin Rajab. The region is now under threat, a potential new breeding ground for smugglers through the smuggling route from Al-Zawiyah to Ras Ajdir up to Zuwarah.

Al-Sarraj’s decision in 2017 to dissolve the so-called Military Council of Sabratha

The photos also showed “Brigadier” Al-Tahir Al-Gharabli, the head of the so-called Sabratha Military Council. Sarraj allegedly dissolved this entity and removed Al-Gharabli in 2017 on suspicion of his dealings with the terrorist organization and smuggling gang, led by Ahmed Al-Dabbashi, nicknamed Al-Ammo.

An observer indicated: “What these gangs, dubbed as “armed forces” by Sarraj, committed today against the Anti-ISIS Operations Room, which has become an army room, and against the Criminal Investigation Service, Western Branch, is a real gain, backed by the GNA and Turkey. These smuggling gangs have never attained such gains in their history, which will surely allow them to resume their illicit enrichment activities and depletion of the state resources after more than two years of keeping them under control.”

Firas Al-Wahshi, nicknamed ‘Al-Saluki’, wanted by the Attorney General

Sabratha being destroyed without justification

Burning houses down

© Al Marsad English (2020)



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