Libyan forces loyal to the General National Congress (GNC) government based in Tripoli began a massive operation against ISIS militias on Sunday, Anadolu has reported. The militant group has been based in the northern city of Sirte for months.
The Military Police Commander in Sirte, Mohamed Zadma, told Anadolu that the chief of staff of the GNC ordered the operation and said that troops from Brigade 166, along with a second brigade from Libya Dawn forces, attacked from several sides of the city. The operation, he explained, began just hours after residents living near the government bases occupied by ISIS were evacuated.
“Fighting has been fierce across all fronts in the city since Sunday afternoon,” said Zadma. He stressed that the GNC forces have already started moving towards the occupied bases.
Eyewitnesses told Anadolu that the clashes are taking place in the centre of the city and a number of neighbourhoods in the south and north.
Websites loyal to ISIS published several pictures showing the group using Grad Missiles. The captions said that they were launched towards the “blasphemous people” called Libya Dawn forces.
Sporadic clashes have erupted in Sirte between Brigade 166 troops and ISIS militias since 16 February. An unknown number of city residents have fled the fighting.