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Tuesday, 23 August, 2011, 3:37 ( 1:37 GMT )
Rebels' Recent Successes Achieved with Some Pain
15/08/2011 13:42:00
Rebel fighters seen after entering Az-Zawiyah, the doorstep to Al Qathafi's stronghold of Tripoli

Libya's rebels fighting to oust the Libyan leader, Muammar Al Qathafi from power said that their recent successes were achieved not without pain. They said they suffered many casualties. On Sunday as they advanced on the regime forces that were still resisting in the western port of Zawiyah, the rebels said they were at the wrong end of a NATO "friendly fire" air strike in which they lost a tank and four fighters.

Bashir Ahmed Ali, commander of the battalion confirmed that contrary to government claims, the rebel fighter are in control of the western and southern gates of Zawiyah, and have pushed three kilometres into the strategic city.

He said that the the government loyalist forces were in control of the east and main centre of the town, where snipers were stationed on top of many buildings. Without giving a precise number, he went on to say that the rebels suffered many casualties as a result of shooting from the Al Qathafi snipers, in residential areas, where some families are virtual hostages in their own homes.

Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim keeps on telling the media that that the strategic city of Zawiyah, 40 kilometres west of the government's stronghold ofTripoli and the last barrier before the rebels close in on the capital itself, was under complete government control.

Meanwhile, the National Transitional Council's representative of Zawiyah in the rebel capital of Benghazi said there were fears the regime would send in reinforcements to crush their advance. He was reported saying: "We fear the arrival of reinforcements from Tripoli," particularly by sea,” he said.

He added that with the fall of Zawiyah falls into the hands of the rebels, the opposition will be able to control everything east of Tripoli to the Tunisian border. “This is the beginning of the end for Al Qathafi,” he added. Zawiyah used to serve as a critical supply line to the west for the Al Qathafi regime.

Heavy fighting between rebels and regime forces also took place in the south end of Zawiyah's Surnam district, with Al Qathafi's forces were shelling rebels from inside the town. But this town, and Gharyan are now also controlled by the rebels.

The latest are important gains that could lead to the final assault on Tripoli. Here, in the Libyan capital, controlled by the leader's inner circle in his absence - wherever he is – the rebels know they could meet stiff resistance from the heavily-armed regime forces, but are also hopeful that the Libyans still in the city, still waiting to be liberated like others in almost two thirds of the country, will also do their part.

There have been reports of an increasing exodus of families fleeing from Tripoli and Zawiyah towards the town of Zintan southeast of the Libyan capital, and the Nafusa Mountains.

Meanwhile, in meetings with the foreign media, the government spokesman, Ibrahim keeps claiming that Zawiyah is still in government hands. He tired to explain that what happened at Zawiyah was, that fewer than 100 fighters tried to enter the town to join up with about 50 rebels inside Zawiyah that was one of the first towns to fall to the rebels early in the uprising, but was then lost back to the regime's forces in March.

In a televised press conference on Sunday, Moussa Ibrahim, had denied the rebels' claims of taking al-Zawiyah and said government forces have managed to halt rebel attacks. "There was an attack yesterday on Zawiyah from the south, but we stopped it, " Moussa Ibrahim said.

"Today as well, a few hours ago, there was another attack on Zawiyah. Greetings to the people of Zawiyah, and the volunteers in Zawiyah, who helped the armed people (Libyan military) and stop this attack courageously," the government spokesman said.

"This is not an advance. This is what you call a skirmish, what you call a suicide mission," he said. "You have to remember we are very powerful. Tens of thousands of volunteers are armed right now."

The rebels had launched numerous unsuccessful assaults on Zawiyah after losing it in March. But now they intend not to lose it again and are strengthening their grip, not just here, but also on the town of Tawurgha, where they have created a buffer zone between the Al Qathafi forces and the city of Misurata. Missile attacks by Al Qathafi forces on Misurata ended after rebels captured the nearby town of Tawurgha. Zawiyah, Gharyan and Surman all have fallen into rebels' hands.

Rebels also took a crucial bridge that links Tawurgha to Sirte, Al Qathafi's hometown and loyal stronghold, but deputy foreign minister Khaled Kaim said government fighters had pushed the rebels away from Tawurgha and back to Misurata.

Government spokesman Ibrahim also downplayed the rebel claims in other towns, saying: "Small groups of armed gangs, 50 here, 50 there, some attacked south of al-Zawiyah, some attacked north of Gharyan, and Tawurgha, but they have very weak influence on the ground. The people's armed forces are dealing with them, they do not represent a real threat. Tripoli is safe."

He later noted that Al Qathafi's forces are "very strong" and have the support of "thousands upon thousands" of armed volunteers.

The rebels also gained ground on the oil town of Brega, even though Kaim on Saturday denied the rebels had entered Brega or taken control of any of the other cities mentioned in the opposition claims.

Rebel field commander Adel Al-Zintani strongly rejected the government's assertions of controlling al-Zawiyah and other nearby cities such as Surman and Gharyan. "The next few days will prove him wrong," he said.

In the meantime, Tunisia's state-owned Tataouine radio has reported clashes between rebels and Al Qathafi forces at Ras Jadir, adding that rebels controlled a desert road from the border to al-Zawiyah, while Al Qathafi forces held the main coastal route.

The rebel commander also said that they had captured many anti-aircraft artillery vehicles, two full fuel tankers and 106 anti-tank piercing artillery and shells.

Al-Zintani said Sunday that some Al Qathafi troops were still holding out in a hospital in the city, of Gharyan using human shields to make it hard for rebels to return fire. He said the Al Qathafi forces were firing ammunition and shells at rebels from inside the hospital and a residence nearby.

Moussa Ibrahim dismissed rebel allegations of taking Gharyan as mere propaganda. He said: "In the city of Gharyan, which is a mountainous city, some gangs enter the city and their goal is to create panic and confusion and declare fake victories. There is nothing real to worry about, Gharyan will be under our control within a few hours," he said.

In another development, late on Sunday, representatives of the Al Qathafi government were reported by Reuters of holding talks with rebels at a hotel on the southern Tunisian island of Djerba. Though the government spokesman denied it, the news agency said that its source was somebody with direct knowledge of the talks.

The talks followed a dramatic advance by the rebels that won them control of the town of Zawiyah, 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli on the coast, enabling them to halt food and fuel supplies from Tunisia to Al Qathafi's stronghold in the capital.

The sources, whose identity is being protected by Reuters, said that the talks in Djerba were held between representatives of the rebels and Al Qathafi representatives. He did not identify the negotiators.

In Tripoli, government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim blamed Western leaders and the media for the spread of rumours that Al Qathafi's government was engaged in talks on the leader's departure from Libya.

"This information is absolutely incorrect and it is part of a media war against us. Their target is to confuse us, break our spirit, and shake our morale," he said.
"The leader is here in Libya, fighting for the freedom of our nation. He will not leave Libya," Ibrahim said.
This article has ( 2 ) Comment(s)
Name: shirley
Date: 15/08/2011 23:43:36
Comment:
HOW DARE THIS BUNCH OF TRAITORS ARNED AND TRAINED WITH FULL SUPPORT ON THE GROUND FROM CIA FRENCH SECRET ARMY AND BLACKWATER MERCENERIES SPEAK ABOUT LIBERATION THEY ARE TRAITORS AND HAVE AN OCCUPYING FORCE TO BACK THEM UP GADDARFFI HAS FULL SUPPORT OF LIBYAN PEOPLE DID NOT BOMB HIS PEOPLE AND WAS NOT A DICTATOR AND HANDED POWER TO TRIBAL COUNCIL NATO WILL BE DESTROYED DEATH TO THE 4TH REICHT NATO AND TO ZIONISTS THAT FUND IT
Name: shirley
Date: 16/08/2011 00:17:38
Comment:
LONG LIVE GADDARFFI LONG LIVE THE BRAVE PEOPLE OF LIBYA THAT ARE FIGHTING THE $TH REICHT NATO AND ITS SECRET ARMY IN LIBYA THIS IS ALSO HAPPENING IN SYRIA THIS IS TO PROP UP US INTERVENSIONISMALL PEOPLE OF CONCIENCE AND HUMANITY ARE WITH GADDARFFI AND LIBYAN PEOPLE IN TRUTH WE TRUST GOD IS WITH GADDARFFI AND LIBYAN PEOPLE UN/US LIES WILL BE EXPOSED
 
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