Libyan forces led by brigades from the western city of Misrata and supported since August 1 by US air strikes have surrounded DAESH in a gradually shrinking residential area in central Sirte after a four-month campaign.

Misrata's fighters are pictured on a tank during clashes against DAESH in Sirte, Libya, on September 21, 2016.
Misrata's fighters are pictured on a tank during clashes against DAESH in Sirte, Libya, on September 21, 2016.

Ten DAESH terrorists and nine fighters loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) died in renewed heavy fighting on Thursday around the last positions of the terrorist group in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte, medical and military sources said.

"Our forces are advancing on the last holdouts of DAESH" in the only district of Sirte still held by the group, said the media office of the pro-government fighters.

Three car bombs were destroyed before reaching their targets, it said.

A Misratan sniper shoots toward DAESH positions in Sirte, Libya on September 21, 2016. (AFP)
A Misratan sniper shoots toward DAESH positions in Sirte, Libya on September 21, 2016. (AFP)

Libyan forces led by brigades from the western city of Misrata and supported since August 1 by US air strikes have surrounded DAESH in a gradually shrinking residential area in central Sirte after a four-month campaign.

Sirte was a DAESH stronghold before forces loyal to the country's GNA launched an offensive against the terrorists in May.

The hospital in Misrata, a town half-way between Sirte and Tripoli, to which casualties are ferried, said on Facebook that nine pro-government fighters were killed and 40 wounded.

A landscape of destroyed buildings in Sirte, Libya, on September 21, 2016. (AFP)
A landscape of destroyed buildings in Sirte, Libya, on September 21, 2016. (AFP)

Tanks positioned around the area still occupied by DAESH launched a continuous barrage of fire, backed up by mortars and anti-aircraft guns, a Reuters witness said.

After advancing rapidly on Sirte in May the Misrata-led forces have suffered high numbers of casualties from sniper fire, suicide bombings and improvised explosive devices. More than 500 have been killed and more than 2,000 wounded.

DAESH expanded into Libya in 2014, taking advantage of the political chaos and security vacuum that developed after Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in an uprising five years ago.

DAESH took full control of Sirte last year, setting up an important base for foreign fighters and expanding its control along about 250 km (140 miles) of Libya's Mediterranean coastline.

Suicide bombings and sniper fire by the group have slowed the offensive to retake Sirte, 450 kilometres (280 miles) east of the Libyan capital Tripoli.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies