Around 20 armed commandos from the United States arrived in Libya's Wattiya base on Monday. The secret US mission was accidently revealed in a Facebook post after photographs of the special forces unit were shared by Libya's air force.
According to a report published in the Guardian news website, the US special forces were soon asked to leave by the local commanders. However it is still unclearâ€”whether the forces indeed left Libya.
In one of the pictures, the American commandos are seen standing with Libyan soldiers with rifles casually slung over their shoulders, casually posing for the camera in sunshine, The Guardian reported.
The Facebook post revealed that the US soldiers had 'disembarked in combat readiness wearing bullet-proof jackets."
A source from the Pentagon confirmed that the special forces were part of a mission sent this week, but they were not sure if the soldiers left Libya, The Guardian said.
Proximity to Islamic State base
Reportedly, the Wattiya airbase is one the largest air-bases in Libya, still intact from the era of the Gaddafi regime. A desert separates the airbase from the Islamic State-controlled base outside Sabratha.
There is heightened speculation that, due to the proximity of Wattiya and Sabratha, there could be a possibility that the US commandos were deployed to launch strikes on ISIS, The Guardian speculated.
"They were there; local commanders said they were there on a training mission. Nobody knows the details. They are gone now," a local source told The Guardian.
The incident is the first official confirmation received from the Pentagon of US commandos in Libya.
"With the concurrence of Libyan officials, US military personnel traveled to Libya on 14 December to engage in a dialogue with â€Žrepresentatives of the Libyan National Army. While in Libya, members of a local militia demanded that the US personnel depart. In an effort to avoid conflict, they did leave, without incident."
There is a strong possibility that the civil war in Syria may be affected due to the US deployment. The air base is an operational hub of the recognised government, according to The Guardian report.