Forces loyal to Libya’s UN-backed government said on Monday they had seized full control of the city of Sirte from the Daesh group, dealing a major blow to the extremists. The battle for the city, which was the last significant territory held by Daesh in Libya, took more than six months and cost the lives of hundreds of loyalist troops. “Our forces have total control of Sirte,” Reda Issa, a spokesman for pro-government forces, told reporters. “Our forces saw Daesh totally collapse,” he said. Forces allied with the country’s unity government launched an offensive to retake the city on May 12, quickly seizing large areas of the city and cornering the extremists. But Daesh put up fierce resistance with suicide car bombings, snipers and improvised explosive devices. The United States started a bombing campaign in August at the request of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) to help local forces recapture the city, seized by Daesh in June 2015. “Daesh has totally collapsed and dozens of them have given themselves up to our forces,” said a statement on the loyalist forces’ official Facebook page. Libya descended into chaos following the NATO-backed ousting of longtime dictator Muammer Qadhafi in 2011, with rival administrations emerging and well-armed militias vying for control of the country’s vast oil wealth.