Coalition forces targeting Libya are working to expand a no-fly zone south and west of Benghazi and are generally achieving their aims and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is not a target even as the coalition struck one of his compounds in Tripoli, the U.S. commander organizing the coalition's military strikes said Monday.
Our actions today are focused on extending the no fly zone southward, then westward from Benghazi, said Gen. Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command told reporters on Monday.
With the growing capabilities of the coalition, I anticipate the no fly zone will soon extend to Brega, Misratah, then to Tripoli. That's about a thousand kilometers, so it's a pretty wide area.
Ham said nations participating in maintaining a no-fly zone over the eastern included: France, Spain, Italy, Denmark and the United Kingdom. The coalition's naval ships were also patrolling the Mediterranean Sea.
He said that as of Monday, the coalition was generally achieving the intended objectives, and noted that no Libyan aircraft had operated since the no-fly zone was imposed on Friday.
And through a variety of reports, we know that regime ground forces that were in the vicinity of Benghazi now possess little will or capability to resume offensive operations, he said.
Sunday night, coalition forces struck a Gaddafi compound in Tripoli, which Ham says was 500 or 700 meters by a thousand or more meters, which included air-defense systems, and a command-and-control facility. It also included housing and food facilities.
Ham, in response to a question about how an attack on that compound tied into the mission of protecting civilians said that degrading that command-and-control facility would degrade the regime's ability to control its military forces in the - in the attack of civilians.
Ham was asked if he could see a situation where Gaddafi remained in power, and if he was worried that the conflict would end in a stalemate.
Ham said while he could foresee accomplishing a military mission calling for Gaddafi to remain in power he hadn't been assigned that.
I have no mission to attack that person. And we are not doing so. We are not seeking his whereabouts or anything like that. We think we have been very effective in degrading his ability to control his regime forces. And we think we are seeing that play out at various parts of the country, he said.