NATO to wind down airstrikes as battle for Tripoli begins

After five months of increasingly intensive air strikes, the final stage of the war in Libya will be left to rebel forces in close-quarter fighting in Tripoli, Nato and British officials have said.

Experts said it was the beginning of the endgame for Nato military operations, but warned that the battle for Tripoli could be extremely bloody. They were also concerned about the ability of “disparate militias” to agree on a political settlement.

“What Nato can do is very limited if there is street-by-street fighting,” said one UK defence official, referring to the battle for Tripoli.