The offensive to liberate Sirte, Isis’ stronghold in Libya, continues. According to BBC, the Libyan forces announced that they had taken control of the port and keep fighting to liberate the rest of the coastal city. General Mohamed al Ghasri, the spokesman of the forces loyal to the government of national unity led by Fayez to Sarraj, added that Isis leaders fled into the desert, southwards, but many jihadists are still under siege in the city center.
Yesterday night, a note by Prime Minister Sarraj announced their victory against the forces of the Islamic State, calling on local militiamen to protect the safety of the civilians. Sirte, a major port of the country and Muammar Gaddafi’s hometown, had 135 thousand inhabitants before its conquest at the hand of the self-styled Islamic State on 20 February.
The head of the Presidential Council based in Tripoli invited the different military factions present in the country to join “the victorious forces” and “build the Libyan nation together, united against the common enemy.” The implied enemy seems to be Khalifa Haftar, commander of the self-proclaimed Cyrenaica Libyan Army that does not recognize the Tripoli government. The liberation of Sirte certainly represents a great success for the Tripoli Libyan Executive supported by the United Nations.
According to Mattia Toaldo, European Council on Foreign Relations’ analyst on Libya, it might take some time to clean up the whole city from the presence of the Islamic state. “It seems – the analyst told “Nova” Agency – that the Misrata forces are planning to give the keys of the city to local authorities. They are aware that the previous oppressive attitude towards Gaddafi’s hometown was one of the causes that led to the advent of Isis”.T