Status: Controlled by Qaddafi.
Qaddafi’s hometown is symbolically important to both sides. Many Sirte residents are fiercely loyal to Qaddafi for showering the city with development projects, according to McClatchy, and opposition opposition forces could deliver a huge blow to Qaddafi by seizing control. Opposition forces express concern about approaching Sirte, which along with two other cities in central Libya could well dictate whether Qaddafi holds on to power, reports McClatchy:
"Some 120 miles south of Sirte lies Hoon, home to a major military base that some say is the landing point for mercenaries from sub-Saharan Africa. Another 120 miles south lies Sabha, the town where Gadhafi says his revolution began and where he spent his early school years. A major highway connects the three – making Sirte the key not just to the west, but to a cordon of cities that splits the country nearly in half between the rebel-held east and the disputed west."