Encircling ISIS in Libya

Forces loyal to Libya’s U.N.-backed unity government say they aim to encircle Sirte, Islamic State’s stronghold in Libya, having moved to within 15 km (10 miles) of the city center. The forces, composed of fighters mostly from the western city of Misrata, are now closer to Sirte than they have been for nearly a year. Last summer Misrata brigades withdrew from Sirte and Islamic State took full control there. Western states are hoping the unity government can bring together Libya’s competing factions to defeat Islamic State, though the new government has struggled to secure support beyond its power base in the west of the country. Earlier this month Islamic State surged forward towards Misrata, which lies about 240 km northwest of Sirte, taking control of the town of Abu Grain and a number of villages and checkpoints in the area before being pushed back”.

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