Forces loyal to Libya’s unity government say they have taken back the country’s northern port city of Sirte from the Daesh Takfiri group in a major offensive against terrorists in the North African country.
The triumphant troops managed to retake the city following fierce street battles on Friday, a day after the naval forces recaptured the coastal areas.
Libyan forces had already seized control over some key areas on the city’s outskirts, including an air base, several military camps and a roundabout, where Daesh had previously hung the bodies of executed people.
Reuters quoted pro-government forces as saying that at least 11 of their fighters were killed in the Friday battle. The troops are still engaged in sporadic street clashes to completely cleanse the city from terrorists.
Sirte, the major Daesh stronghold outside Iraq and Syria, had fallen to the hands of the Takfiris in February 2015. The full recapture of the city is a major boost to the Government of National Accord (GNA), which has come to office through support from the United Nations.
Daesh has been taking advantage of the chaos embroiling Libya since the NATO-backed overthrow and death of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi back in 2011.
The oil-rich North African country has had two rival governments since 2014, when politician Khalifa Ghweil and his self-proclaimed government seized control of the capital Tripoli with the support of militia groups, forcing the internationally-recognized government to move to the country’s remote eastern city of Tobruk.
The two governments achieved a consensus on forming a unity government, the GNA, last December after months of UN-brokered talks in Tunisia and Morocco to restore order to the country.