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Sarraj Government Forces Advance in Sirte | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Forces loyal to Libya’s unity government launched an offensive to recapture Sirte from Islamic State jihadists in May 2016 (AFP Photo/Mahmud Turkia)

Sirte – Libyan forces of Sarraj government continue to advance in Sirte after regaining control over buildings and currently trying to gain control over the remaining neighborhoods.

Photojournalists of Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that governmental forces are trying to advance towards neighborhood number 3 using light weapons, while the leadership announced it had gained control over the buildings of 1000 residential unit.

Media center of Solid Structure issued a statement saying that the forces are now in control of 1000 residential unit, the Indian buildings, and is advancing towards neighborhood number 2.

Solid Structure spokesperson Mohammed al-Ghosari said that ISIS’ existence is limited now to neighborhood number 1, while the other two neighborhoods are still witnessing heavy clashes.

Ghosari confirmed that the battle is almost over and it won’t be long before victory is announced without specifying the date.

The spokesperson added that U.S. air force bombed terrorists’ sites in Sirte over 5 times. He said that the air support helped in minimizing losses. He explained that before the participation of U.S., every attack could lead to the death of 35 or 40 persons, whereas now it is far more less with 3 dead in the recent battle.

Ghosari confirmed that there are no civilians in Sirte anymore, other than ISIS’ families. He said that Solid Structure forces allowed civilians to leave the city. He added that this led to the death of 40 civilians since ISIS used cars in transporting the civilians that were in reality bombed.

Since May 12, over 300 Solid Structure fighter died and over 1800 injured. Three months after its initiation, in June 2015, governmental forces announced it had regained control over Ouagadougou Conference Center, which was ISIS headquarters.

AFP photojournalists toured inside Sirte University and Ouagadougou Conference Center where slogans are still on the buildings. According to the photographer, destruction was everywhere and there were ISIS slogans threatening to attack Rome “We Fight in Libya, Our Eyes on Rome.”

Italian media revealed that Libyan authorities had informed its Italian counterpart of a terrorist cell near Milano. Sources revealed that the information was gathered after Libyan forces found documents in ISIS sites in Sirte.

According to the documents, terrorists are stationed near Milano and follow the orders of the Tunisian Abo Nasim, 47, who fought in Afghanistan and Syria before becoming an ISIS leader in Libya in 2014.

Italy fears that terrorists will cross the borders using refugees’ boats to execute attacks inside.