The city of Sirte was liberated by Libyan forces on Saturday morning, June 11, 2016, from Islamic State militants. Sirte, the Libyan city port is a key bastion in the Mediterranean Sea, so both ISIS and the Libyans have been fighting over the city during the last month.
Pro-government forces from Libya cut off ISIS by capturing city’s main port and the Islamic group’s leaders left Sirte. Now, the Libyan troops moved closer to the town’s center.
Libya has been fighting a Civil War since 2014, the conflict has been among rival groups craving control of the territory. ISIS took advantage of Libya’s turbulence in order to gain a foothold in the country from northern Africa.
In May 2016, the operation to liberate Sirte started because the armed groups in the city felt threatened by an extremist group that was progressing to their location. The troops from Misrata were the primary combatants against ISIS in Sirte. The troops advanced from their position, on the western and southern fronts, and surrounded the
Additionally, the Libyan forces are allied with the U.N.-brokered government in Tripoli and are believed to be commanded by some officers from the traditional army. The conflict may not be close to an end, though, despite the U.K. and U.S. special forces that are advising and training local troops.
The Fighting Took Its Toll
During the struggle, there were multiple battles in the open, resulting in numerous murders. On June 10, 2016, while forcing ISIS out of the city, the pro-government troops found several militants in the army barracks that had been handcuffed and shot in the head.
A Libyan media official, Ahmed Hadiya, declared that at least six bodies were found inside the al-Saadi barracks and that those deceased men were probably ISIS militants who wanted to escape from Sirte.
The conflict that took place on Saturday morning, June 11, 2016, left behind over 130 dead people. Moreover, at least 400 men and women were injured in this battle for the Libyan city.
Libyan Forces Success Confirmed
The military media bureau called Al-Bunyan Al-Marsoos confirmed that the troops took hold of the city of Sirte and its port in the Mediterranean sea after heavy clashes with ISIS militants. Mohammed Al-Ghasri, the spokesman for the military media, also said that there were a lot of snipers from the Islamic State groups that were position on the roofs of the buildings overlooking the sea.
The success of the operation left victims, though. The Libyan military force lost 11 members that were killed, while 35 others were injured. They were taken to the central hospital of Misrata.
Libya Is Under Pressure Since 2011
Although the actual Civil War began in 2014, Libya has been in crisis since 2011, when the Arab Spring protests started. Those led to the first Libyan Civil War, which resulted in the instability of the African country. The tension stored during these years erupted in 2014 into another Civil War.
So far, the ongoing war has resulted in thousands of casualties and it does not appear to be close to an end.
By Bianca-Ramona Dumitru
Edited by Cathy Milne
BBC.com: Libyan forces ‘retake Sirte port from IS militants’
MilitaryTimes.com: Libyan troops find bodies of handcuffed ISIS fighters in Sirte
LibyaObserver.ly: Al-Bunyan Al-Marsoos warplanes bomb IS positions in Sirte after capturing Sirte port
Image Courtesy of Al Jazeera English’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License