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Libya officially declares liberation of Sirte from Daesh

18 December 2016 14:35

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Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) has officially announced the end of military operations in the city of Sirte following the recent liberation of the coastal city from the grips of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.

Fayez al-Sarraj, the GNA’s leader, made the announcement in a televised speech on Saturday, two weeks after a large-scale assault on the terrorist group brought the city, located 450 kilometers (280 miles) east of  the capital, Tripoli, under full control of forces loyal to the internationally-recognized government.

“The battle for Sirte is over but the war against terrorism in Libya is not finished,” Sarraj noted.

He called on all factions and military forces to unite under “one single army,” inviting different political parties in the North African country to work together to resolve the issues facing Libya.

The UN-backed government in Libya started a large-scale military operation in May to purge Daesh militants from Sirte, which is the hometown of former slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The head of Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), Faez al-Sarraj (C), arrives for the eighth ministerial meeting of Libya’s neighboring countries, in Tunis, March 22, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

 

Daesh, which had captured Sirte more than a year ago, had taken advantage of a chaos gripping Libya since 2011, when a NATO military intervention followed the 2011 uprising that led to the toppling and killing of Gaddafi.

Forces loyal to the GNA launched the final offensive to retake Sirte from Daesh terrorists on December 5. The city, located on the Mediterranean coast, was the main urban center that Daesh managed to seize outside Iraq and Syria.

The GNA, endorsed by the United Nations and several Western governments, has yet to fully establish its authority across Libya.

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