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Tuesday, 23 August, 2011, 3:38 ( 1:38 GMT )
Libyan Rebels' Victory at Az-Zawiyah Confirmed Despite Government Claims
14/08/2011 11:41:00
Rebel fighters wave tricolor flags after recent advances on Saturday in Az-Zawiyah and Gharyan

If one were to believe the Libyan government's claims, then one would come to the conclusion that the conflict that sparked off in Benghazi in mid-February and has been going on for almost six months has achieved nothing' and that all of Libya loves Al Qathafi.

If one were the heed the regime's propaganda, than we would believe that the regime is in control of all but a few unimportant towns in Libya; that the regime's forces have killed no civilians, that it is all plain sailing and that come September 1, the regime will have occasion to celebrate the 42nd anniversary of the Al Fatah Revolution. But that is not the case.

On Saturday the rebels battling to oust the Libyan leader off his perch made important gains by advancing on the strategically important towns of Az-Zawiyah and Gharyan and are within hours of cutting off completely the southern coastal route from Tunisia that the Al Qathafi regime uses for supplies. On attaining control, rebels in Benghazi fired gunshots to celebrate the victory.

Saturday's gains in Western Libya increase pressure to isolate the Libyan leader's stronghold of Tripoli where families feel that the end for the Al Qathafi regime is near and their sufferings from shortages and suppression could soon be over.

Families with children to care for have reportedly been fleeing the capital to seek refuge in the Nafusa Mountains. Some of these same families had sought refuge from the Nafusa area in the fist place and are ow returning home.

The battle for control of Az-Zawiyah, raged along the coastal highway and at the gates of the city., and fighting was fierce. While reports indicate that fighting also took place within Az-Zawiyah, it is not clear if rebels had breached city limits or the residents themselves were rebelling.

The fact is, that the 150 soldiers making up the Al Qathafi force who were still in Zawiyah surrendered themselves to the rebels, who also took possession of 20 military vehicles that could come in handy in their remaining battles.

The rebel fighters had entered Zawiyah, which is located on the main highway from the capital to Tunisia, and has been a lifeline for the Libyan government, from both south and west sides.

Victory was achieved after heavy fighting between the rebels and government troops is in the centre of Zawiyah and its suburbs. Reports also indicated that the last stronghold for the Al Qathafi troops, Gharyan, in the Western mountains has also fallen in the hands of the rebels.

The fall of Zawiyah, a city 40 km west of the capital Tripoli, with significant economic, energy and strategic importance, means that the rebels now control the only remaining oil refinery in the hands that was in the hands of the Libyan leader.

However, the government is trying to convince the rest of the country and the foreign journalists, that Az-Zawiyah for one, is still “completely” under its control. Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim told reporters: "Az-Zawiyah is completely under our control. A very small group of rebels tried to enter from the south of Az-Zawiyah but they were stopped easily by our armed forces."

Rebel forces launched the ground attacks after NATO planes hit targets in these areas.

Witnesses close to the rebel fighters on the ground at Az-Zawiyah confirmed the gains to soon after they took control Saturday afternoon.

Now international news agency Reuters and many others are confirming this website's breaking news yesterday. An agency reporter confirmed this morning that rebel fighters are in control of the centre of the town of Zawiyah.

He said he could see about 50 rebels near Zawiyah’s main produce market shouting “Allahu Akbar!,” or “God is greatest!” He also reported that the tricolor, the rebels' red, black and green flag was flying from a shop.

Rebel fighters said there were still forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Al Qathafi in the town, including snipers as they could hear the sound of occasional gunfire, but no heavy fighting has been reported.

The position is the closest the rebel frontline has been to Tripoli since the uprising against the Libyan leader. Holding Zawiyah gives the revolutionaries control of the coastal highway, the main link between the capital and the outside world.
This article has ( 3 ) Comment(s)
Name: chukwudi
Date: 14/08/2011 18:44:56
The Lbyan revolutionaries has shown great determination. They know too well that if they fail to finish Gadafi, they will never live to tell the story. this is agreat lesson to all sit-tight dictators.
Name: Project CivilizationDate: 15/08/2011 21:14:35
Perhaps if you didnt row against the government in these difficult times .....things would be better and you could retrieve some self respect
Name: peter mathew
Date: 16/08/2011 00:23:21
Dont have the rebels stop shooting just because of some envoy.
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