Six weeks after liberating Tripoli and a long siege of Gaddafi's hometown Sirte, the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) is prepared to declare Libya liberated once control of Sirte is gained. Althogh Bani Walid will take some time to control yet, the capture of Sirte will give the TNC control of all the port cities in Libya.
As of yesterday, the NTC said that its forces had occupied a convention centre, a university and a hospital in Sirte. NTC told Reuters that it had captured 15 Gaddafi loyalists inside the Ibn Sina Hospital in Sirte. Some Gaddafi loyalists, disguised as doctors, were able to flee.
Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, head of the Libyan governing council said that some gains had also been made in Bani Walid, located in the Libyan desert.
Meanwhile NTC forces have given civilians time to flee the besieged port town, including those that are opposed to the toppling of Gaddafi.
The capture of Sirte, will give the TNC the opportunity to set a timeline and to schedule elections. Needless to say, the challenges for a free Libya will be immense. Along with reconstructing the country, there will be challenges to keep fragile alliances united for one cause.
Meanwhile Gaddafi is still elusive and his capture would be a big plus for the flegling democracy. Apparently Gaddafi's son Seif al-Islam has been seen inside Bani Walid distributing cash to loyalists. The TNC believes that he is inside the city.
While NATO will be slowly wrapping up its Libya mission, the international community will be busy with humanitarian aid, providing advice and aiding reconstruction. One can only hope that in the end Libya emerges as a better nation.