A fighter from forces aligned with Libya's new unity government talks on a radio while his comrade uses binoculars to scan for an Islamic State position in Sirte, Libya June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny
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Libyan forces may be close to winning the battle for the militant group's stronghold in Sirte, but divisions may deepen if one of the most powerful brigades, led by commanders from Misrata, takes control of the prize city.The Misrata's brigades, at the front of the fight against Daesh in Sirte, are backing Sarraj but, after losses in battle there, are in no mood for compromise with rivals and are growing frustrated with Tripoli.To the east, Gen. Khalifa Haftar's rival forces, long antagonistic to Misrata, have little interest in cooperation.Two months after they began a campaign to liberate Sirte, Misrata commanders say they are close to finishing a fight that may give them an advantage over Haftar, who along with other eastern hard-liners has rejected Sarraj's government.Mattia Toaldo, Libya expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said the fall of Sirte to Misrata may now embolden them: Haftar to push while Misrata is recovering from Sirte, and for Misrata to resist pressure to compromise.Misrata forces are surrounding the remains of Daesh fighters holding out in the center of Sirte in what commanders hope are the final stages of a battle to liberate the city.
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