Standing guard at his frontline post, Libyan soldier Mohammed Abu Shager can see where Islamic State militants are holed up with their heavy weaponry less than a kilometer away.

The militants have effectively taken over former dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s home city of Sirte as they exploit a civil war between two rival governments to expand in North Africa.

“Every night they open fire on us,” said Abu Shebar, who with comrades on Sirte’s western outskirts holds the last position of troops belonging to one of the two warring Libyan governments, the General National Congress, which controls the capital Tripoli and most of the west of the country. […]