By Osama Ali
SIRTE, Libya (AA) - Libyan government forces have captured a major Daesh stronghold in the coastal city of Sirte, a military spokesman said Tuesday.
Government forces "are now in control of [Sirte’s] Number Two district," Mohamed al-Ghosri, a spokesman for the government’s ongoing anti-Daesh campaign, told Anadolu Agency.
He said government forces had sustained a number of casualties -- he did not say exactly how many -- during the operation to capture the district.
For weeks, government forces have been fighting Daesh militants in an effort to recapture Sirte, which was overrun by the terrorist group in 2015.
Government forces reportedly registered major gains in the city last week, seizing control of several Daesh sites, including the group’s radio transmission office.
Daesh militants are now reportedly surrounded in Sirte’s central residential area.
Al-Ghosri said the fall of the Number Two district "essentially means Sirte has been liberated from the grip of Daesh".
He added: "We are now very close to liberating the city entirely."
Libya has remained in a state of turmoil since 2011, when a bloody uprising ended with the ouster and death of longtime strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
Since then, the country’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of government, one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli.
Late last year, Libya’s rival governments signed a UN-backed agreement to establish a unity government in an effort to resolve the country’s ongoing political standoff.