Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Libyan Rebels take Coastal Road

Libyan Rebels Are in Zawiya

Sunday, August 14th, 2011 at 9:35 am UTC

Libyan rebel fighters say they have fought their way into the strategic city of Zawiya.
Some rebel fighters have reached the city's central main square, however, they say snipers and troops loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi remain in the town.
Zawiya, located 50 kilometers west of Tripoli, lies on the main highway between Tripoli and the border with Tunisia. Rebel control of Zawiya would cut off Tripoli from its supply lines.

On Saturday, rebels said they had seized the town of Gharyan, which is located about 100 kilometers from the capital. Later in the day, the Associated Press quoted an opposition fighter who said a second round of clashes broke out after pro-government forces returned with reinforcements.

In a separate development, a Libyan government official slammed U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon on Saturday for comments that that he made earlier in the week concerning civilian casualties.

On Thursday, Mr. Ban expressed concern about the rising number of civilian deaths and urged all sides to “exercise extreme caution.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said that Mr. Ban's remarks were “unacceptable” because they did not single out NATO as being responsible for civilian deaths.

On Tuesday, Libya accused NATO of killing 85 people in a village near the western town of Zlitan. NATO said its warplanes had hit targets in the area the previous day but denied evidence of civilian casualties.

NATO began launching air strikes against in March, supporting rebels who have been fighting against Mr. Gadhafi's 42-year rule.

AGI) Zawiyah - Despite the regime's denials, Libyan rebels seem to have taken control of the center of Zawiyah. The city is strategic for the advancement towards Tripoli from the east, as it is situated only 50 km West of the capital. Around 50 combatants are located in the proximity of the city's principal market, crying "Allahu Akbar!", "Allah is great!" and the rebels' flag now waves on top of a shop. Nonetheless, loyalist troops, including snipers, remain in the city-center, giving rise to the occasional gunshots now being heard. . .

Rebel fighters in Libya are reported to have seized control of the Mediterranean town of Zawiya, about 50 km west of the capital Tripoli, after heavy fighting forces loyal to the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.

The Reuters news agency reported on August 14 that around 50 anti-government guerrillas were seen shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great) near the town's main market.

The rebels' red, black and green flag was seen flying from a shop.

Pro-Qaddafi fighters, including snipers, were said by rebels to be still present in the town and occasional gunfire could be heard, though no heavy fighting.

Rebel fighters say Tripoli will be their next target.

The rebel attack on Zawiya is the most dramatic advance into Qaddafi-controlled territory since the uprising against his rule began six months ago.

Since April, the conflict between the rebels and government forces has been locked in a stalemate.

Despite months of NATO airstrikes hitting regime forces, rebels have failed to budge the main front lines.

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