>> It's a major victory for Libyan forces. This building in Sirte is where Islamic State once held meetings and flew their black jihadist flag. Now it's in the hands of government backed forces. They say they're in complete control of the Ouagadougou Conference Center, and have even advanced beyond it.
They've been battling the militants for weeks, trying to secure a city that used to be an Islamic State stronghold. But Reuter's senior correspondent, Aidan Lewis, in neighboring Tunis, says they've paid a high price.>> They began their campaign in May when they counterattacked against the Islamic State. Militants and they've been fighting a pretty tough backdrop ever since then.
Suffering quite high casualties. They've lost more than 350 men. They've had more than 1,500 wounded and the campaign had been slowing down as they halt closer to the center of the city of Sirte.>> US airstrikes against IS targets which began at the beginning of August have opened up the way for Libyan forces.
If the militants lose Sirte completely, they'll have no territory left in Libya at all, but driving then out of the city won't necessarily mean the end of the
] group.>> They will maintain a presence in other parts of the country through sleeper cells which have developed in several cities.
There are also fears that significant numbers of fighters including some senior commanders may have escaped from Sirte during the early stages of the battle.>> The advance in Sirte isn't just a military triumph, it's also a boost for Libya's new government still struggling to impose its authority in a fractured country.