Haftar's Forces Seize Key Libyan Coastal Town
By VOA News January 06, 2020
Forces loyal to Libyan General Khalifa Haftar say they have captured the strategically-important city of Sirte from the Western-backed government in Tripoli.
A spokesman for Haftar's Libyan National Army said Monday the city fell within hours and has been "totally liberated."
Tripoli has yet to comment and no other details of the fighting are available.
Sirte is located on the Mediterranean coast and is a key city because Haftar's LNA controls the area to its immediate east while Tripoli controls the region to the immediate west.
The city is also close to the oil fields. Sirte was longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi's hometown and was once in the hands of Islamic State before the government, backed by U.S. airstrikes, drove out the extremists.
Libya has been in constant chaos since Gadhafi was toppled and killed in 2011. Efforts at hammering out a political settlement have failed.
Both sides have been battling for control of Tripoli since April, with hundreds of thousands of civilians caught in the middle. Turkish troops are being deployed to Libya to support the GNA.
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