UN says assisting thousands of migrants in Libyan smuggling hub

The UN migration agency is trying to provide assistance to migrants who had been held in the smuggling hub of Sabratha, Libya, as rival factions battled for control of the city, Reuters reports. At least 4,000 migrants have been transferred from informal camps and dormitories to a hangar in the city since the clashes ended on Friday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Monday. Sabratha has been the most common point of departure for mostly sub-Saharan African migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean by boat from Libya. The number of crossings dropped sharply in July after an armed group struck a deal with officials from the UN-backed government in Tripoli to block departures. That set off three weeks of fighting among rival factions which ended with the withdrawal of the armed group.