(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
On Tuesday, Libyan forces loyal to the UN-backed unity government in Tripoli said that the last districts in central Sirte, where ISIS fighters were hiding, are now under their control.
Libyan forces have been battling against ISIS since May and have recently made significant gains against the extremist group in their stronghold of Sirte after receiving military support from the US in the form of airstrikes.
As of Wednesday, the US had fired 48 airstrikes targeting ISIS weapons, tanks and other vehicles, said the US Africa Command.
Last week, Libyan forces were able to secure sites south of central Sirte allowing them to begin their battles with ISIS fighters for neighbourhood Number 2, which they claim to have captured.
Rida Issa, a spokesperson for the forces, said, “on Tuesday morning clashes erupted … that led successfully to the recapture of neighborhood Number 2 with the cooperation of a tank unit to confront Islamic State (ISIS) snipers. The neighborhood is now completely under control of our forces.”
There are reports of casualties from the Libyan forces, however, Akram Gliwan, a spokesman for the hospital in Misrata, said the number of soldiers killed and wounded have not been confirmed.
Losing Sirte will be a major setback for the terrorist group as the location gave ISIS fighters control of 250 kilometer of coastline. However, the extremist group was unable to gather the support they needed to maintain control of Sirte and expand into other towns and cities in Libya.