Rescue operations in Sirte as ISIS faces imminent defeat

2016-10-23 06:00
Reda Issa.

Reda Issa.

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Libyan pro-government forces fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) in Sirte freed 11 Eritrean female captives, a Turk and an Egyptian following a battle to recapture a part of the city held by the ISIS, while some of the Islamist group’s commanders and fighters escaped before the city was encircled, spokesperson for the forces Reda Issa said yesterday.

After six months of street-by-street fighting backed by US air strikes, Libyan forces have taken back most of Sirte, where the IS is holding out with heavy ammunition.

“The [pro-government] forces have completely recaptured the 600-block area in Sirte from gangs of Daesh, and now the Ghiza Bahriya area is the last pocket of resistance,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for the IS.

Sirte fell to the IS following the 2011 death of Muammar Gaddafi.

Forces fighting the IS in Sirte are mostly from the nearby brigades of Misrata.

The forces are allied with the UN-backed unity government in Tripoli that is trying to unite the competing factions.

Western governments back this government in hopes that it will bring stability and help counter the IS and migrant smugglers.

Defeating the IS in Sirte will destroy its main stronghold outside its Iraqi and Syrian territory just as Iraqi forces move to retake Mosul.

–Reuters

Read more on:    muammar gaddafi  |  isis

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