Libya Unity Forces to Launch Final Offensive on ISIS to Regain Sirte

Libya Unity Forces to Launch Final Offensive on ISIS to Regain Sirte
Sun Aug 7, 2016 22:36:05

Forces loyal to the Libyan unity government are preparing to launch a final offensive against the ISIS (ISIL / Daesh) Takfiri terrorists to fully recapture the coastal city of Sirte.

“The countdown to the final stage of the military operations against ISIS has started,” forces loyal to the Tripoli-based national unity government said in a statement on Sunday.

“The operation's leaders held intensive meetings to prepare for the final and decisive battles to eradicate the ISIS gang from the city of Sirte,” the statement added.

Forces allied with the UN-supported Government of National Accord (GNA) began the offensive against the terror group in May to retake the city, which lies some 450 kilometers (280 miles) east of the capital, Tripoli.

The pro-government fighters managed to enter the city in June and have liberated several residential districts since then, but their advance slowed as Daesh hit back with sniper fire, car bombs and counterattacks.

According to medical sources in the city of Misrata, where the operation's command center is based, over 300 people have been killed in the clashes and some 1,800 others have been injured.

Foreign forces from several Western countries, including the United States, France and Britain, are also in Libya in a purported fight against ISIS. In May, both Washington and London confirmed the presence of their troops in Libya.

In February, a US airstrike targeted a ISIS training camp near Sabratha, west of the Libyan capital, leaving about 50 people dead.

The GNA has denounced the presence of foreign troops, saying it violates Libya's sovereignty.

Libya has been struggling to contain Takfiri terrorists, who have been expanding their presence in the country following the overthrow and death of longtime dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, in 2011.

Taking advantage of the political chaos in the country, ISIS took control of Sirte in June 2015, nearly four months after it declared presence in the city, making it the first city to be ruled by the group outside of Iraq and Syria.

The oil-rich African country had two rival administrations since mid-2014, when militants overran the capital and forced the parliament to flee to the country’s remote eastern city of Tobruk.

The two governments, however, achieved a consensus on forming the GNA last December after months of UN-brokered talks in Tunisia and Morocco to restore order to Libya.

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