At least five members of forces allied with the UN-backed Libyan unity government have been killed in fresh clashes with Takfiri Daesh terrorists amid operations to liberate the northern city of Sirte.
Medical officials at a local field hospital said the five brigade members lost their lives in Friday’s fighting, which was focused on the Dollar neighborhood, situated about 1.5 kilometers southwest of Sirte’s center.
The officials also noted that 28 Libyan forces sustained injuries in their latest push to capture ground from the extremists besieged in central Sirte.
“Despite the obstacles and difficulties we have faced in the Dollar neighborhood such as land mines, booby traps and snipers, … we made a good progress forwards,” said a pro-government soldier, identified as Mohamed.
He also expressed hope for the liberation of the whole neighborhood and further advances in other regions, emphasizing that it “means the end of the war.”
Libyan forces launched a military operation in May to retake Sirte, which fell to Daesh in last year. They managed to enter the city on June 9 and, since then, they have liberated several residential districts.
The battle for Sirte has left over 300 pro-government forces dead and more than 1,500 others wounded.
Almost all Sirte residents have left the city, with Daesh still in control of the university, the main hospital, and the Ouagadougou conference hall complex.
Sirte’s recapture would be a major blow to Daesh, which has faced a series of setbacks in Syria and Iraq.
Libya has been dominated by violence since a NATO military intervention followed the 2011 uprising that led to the toppling and killing of longtime dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.
The oil-rich African state has had two rival administrations since mid-2014, when militants overran the capital and forced the parliament to flee to the country’s remote east.
The two governments achieved a consensus on forming a unity government, the Government of National Accord, last December after months of UN-brokered talks in Tunisia and Morocco to restore order to the country.
Daesh has taken advantage of the political chaos in Libya to increase its presence there.