A Libyan man checks a building used by the Islamic State fighters after it was captured by Libyan forces allied with the U.N.-backed government, in Sirte, Libya August 22, 2016. REUTERS/Hani Amara
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For more than a year, Daesh exercised total control over Sirte, building its primary North African base in the coastal city. But it struggled to keep a footing elsewhere in Libya and by December was forced out of Sirte after a six-month campaign led by brigades from the western city of Misrata and backed by U.S. airstrikes.One group of 60-80 militants is operating around Girza, 170 kilometers west of Sirte, another group of about 100 is based around Zalla and Mabrouk oil field, about 300 km southeast of Sirte, and there are reports of a third group present in Al-Uwaynat, close the Algerian border, he said.Some fighters were based outside Sirte before last year's campaign, some fled during the battle and some have arrived from eastern Libya where they have been largely defeated by rival armed factions.Sirte suffered extensive damage during the battle against Daesh.Haftar, who has rejected the GNA, was on the opposite side to Misrata's brigades in a conflict that flared up across Libya in 2014, just as Daesh was gaining strength.
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