WAR VIDEO: ISIS Fighting in Its Final Strip of North Africa Stronghold
While heavily armed militias from different armed groups clashed in neighborhoods across the Libyan capital of Tripoli on Thursday and Friday causing unrest in capital, Libyan forces loyal to UN-Back unity Government have been battling Islamic State in Sirte for more than six months and have reduced the amount of ground held by its terrorists to a small cluster of buildings near the city’s Mediterranean sea front.
Since August, the forces, led by brigades from the western Libyan city of Misrata, have been backed by US air strikes. Though Sirte was the only ISIS-controlled city in Libya, the group has a presence in other parts of the country.
Islamic State took full control of Sirte early last year, extending its presence along about 250km (155 miles) of Libya’s coastline.
Sirte’s loss would leave the militant group without any territory in the North African country, though some of its fighters escaped during the early stages of the campaign and officials fear they will wage an insurgency from the south and west of the city.
The battle in Sirte comes as Daesh is also on the defensive against so-called US-backed campaigns in Syria and Iraq, including in the biggest city of its self-declared Caliphate, Mosul.