File - In this Sept. 27, 2016 file photo, a Libyan fighter affiliated with the Tripoli government searches for sniper positions from a hole in a building on the frontline with Islamic State militants, in Sirte, Libya. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
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As last defenses of Daesh (ISIS) crumbled this week in their Libyan bastion Sirte, dozens of women and children used as human shields stumbled dazed and dust-caked from the rubble. Fighters from the armed groups that defeated the extremists feted the end of a six-month battle by flying Libyan flags over the Mediterranean city, once known mainly as the home town of late dictator Moammar Gadhafi, more recently as the main stronghold outside Syria and Iraq of Daesh's caliphate. Just hours after the last district in Sirte was cleared, fighters in a newly formed force swept up from the desert south of the city toward Libya's Oil Crescent, looking to recapture ports that had changed hands three months before.Nearly 500 strikes were carried out over Sirte between Aug. 1 and early December.In September, with Misrata's fighters still tied up in Sirte, Haftar's forces moved to seize the Oil Crescent ports, some of them just 200 km to the east, and many see him edging towards national power.
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