>> They're inching ever closer, government backed Libyan troops are gaining ground in the battle for Sirte. They've been fighting for weeks to dislodge Islamic State militants from their North Africa stronghold. Progress has been slow, but since US jets began pounding IS targets at the beginning of August, Libyan ground forces have been able to press forwards.
Small teams of Western special forces are also in the country. But Reuters senior correspondent, Aiden Lewis in neighboring Tunis, says any deeper Western involvement is not on the cards.>> It's very unlikely at this stage that there will be any more visible presence of Western forces, partly because the campaign in Sirte looks like it's probably weeks rather than months away from the end and the Libyans have been very keen to have ownership of that campaign.
They want to show that they're able to defeat Islamic State largely by themselves.>> It was Libya's UN-backed government that asked for the US air support and while the request was granted, any further involvement is fraught with difficulties. The country's many political factions and armed groups, all with shifting allegiances make it impossible to know who to back.
>> The risk for Western powers looking to support one party or another in Libya is that things change again in the future and they find that they're backing a force that they aren't able to control, or to have a predictable relationship with.>> As Libyan forces progress towards the center of Sirte, Tripoli is likely to ask for an international arms embargo to be eased.
But Western powers would want guarantees that the weapons don't end up in the wrong hands.