TRIPOLI Oct 7 (Reuters) - The United Nations on Friday warned there should be no reprisals against residents of Muammar Gaddafi's hometown should it fall to Libyan interim government forces, who on Friday launched their biggest assault on the town yet.
Pro-Gaddafi fighters in Sirte -- one of only two main remaining bastions of support for the deposed leader -- have for weeks been fiercely resisting ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) forces.
The NTC again bombarded the town with tank shells and artillery rounds on Friday as concern continued to mount for civilians trapped inside and living in dire conditions.
"Libya's revolution is based upon the demand for human rights and dignity," U.N. special representative for Libya, Ian Martin, said in a statement.
"I appeal to all to respect the calls made by the ... (NTC) that there should be no revenge even against those responsible for war crimes and other grave violations, who should be detained and brought to justice by due process of law."
The statement said the message should be passed to those "now in the heat of battle".
Thousands of civilians have streamed out of Sirte as fighting between NTC forces -- backed by NATO warplanes -- and pro-Gaddafi fighters using snipers, artillery and rockets has intensified.
Both sides are blaming each other for civilian deaths in the town.
Some people leaving Sirte have said they were sorry to see Gaddafi ousted. He transformed it from a small fishing village into a city of 100,000 that acted as a second capital during his years in power. (Editing by Christian Lowe)