Libyan forces 'defeat IS' in former stronghold of Sirte

Libyan forces 'defeat IS' in former stronghold of Sirte
Libyan government forces have gained 'full control' of Sirte after a prolonged battle for the coastal city resulting in huge casualties and extensive damage to the seaside city.
2 min read
05 December, 2016

Forces loyal to Libya's government that the battle for the city of Sirte is over, claiming that they have driven the militants from the last neighbourhood that they held.

"Our forces have total control of Sirte," Reda Issa, a spokesman for pro-government forces, told AFP.

"Our forces saw Daesh totally collapse," he said, using an Arabic acronym for the group.

This latest development follows a report from earlier on in the day that over a dozen IS fighters in Sirte had surrendered to Libyan forces.

Others had been caught attempting to swim out of Sirte in a desperate bid to escape the besieged quarters of the city.

The battle for coastal city - which was the last bastion of IS control in Libya - has raged on for over six months, with the remaining militants having resorted to using booby traps, sniper attacks and car bombs to prolong the fight.

The US has been backing Libyan government forces with airstrikes since August.

The fall of Sirte - the hometown of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi - represents a major blow to the IS group, who are currently locked in battles in Syria and Iraq to retain hold of their last remaining strongholds.

Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord [GNA] will also be buoyed by the claimed victory, as it has struggled to assert its authority since being formed in December 2015.

A rival military power, led by "General" Khalifa Haftar in Libya's east, threatens the authority of the GNA led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, along with IS militants who have tried to regroup elsewhere in the country