The UKSF is likely working on countering Islamic State progression in Northern Libya. Although nothing has been confirmed, the British soldiers could be training selected local militias to counter Islamic State fighters. Basically, the UK is building an anti-ISIS cell.
Many sources have confirmed the US special forces soldiers are providing the same type of tactical training in the same region, enhancing the probability of joint efforts between London and Washington.
Although nothing had been confirmed on the presence of UKSF troops on the ground by the Ministry of Defense (MOD), The Guardian reported that Tobias Ellwood, UK’s foreign minister, said there was no possibility of UK troops fighting Islamic State in Libya.
“Giving evidence to the foreign affairs select committee on the state of Libya, Ellwood stressed there was no possibility of UK troops going to Libya to fight Isis forces themselves, but that they may help with the training of the Libyan army if a government of national unity is formed. The forces would also help to train the Libyan patrol and facilities guard, responsible for protecting the vital oilfields. Some oil installations have been attacked by Isis,” Elwood said.
That said, Ellwood clearly said British SOF could be sent to train a Libyan army if there was one. However, as of today, no Libyan army have been formed so the British soldiers are likely training U.S.-backed rebels.
With French, British and American special forces on the ground, the NATO coalition led by Italy is most likely preparing the ground for a possible large-scale deployment in the near future.
Training rebels could also mean the Allies are looking to create a force strong enough to fight Islamic State will supporting them with air strikes; a similar plan to the used in Syria and Iraq up until recently.
Will it be peacekeepers, an air campaign or a ground intervention? I guess we’ll soon know.