20 October 2011 Last updated at
Libya: The fall of Gaddafi
Col Muammar Gaddafi has been killed after months of fighting in a violent uprising against the former leader's 42-year rule. With audio commentary by Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen
, explore the chapters below to find out how the crisis unfolded.
Violent protests 16 - 23 February
Rebel advance, Gaddafi retaliation 24 Feb - 6 March
We are ready to hand out weapons to a million, or two million or three million, and another Vietnam will begin."
Col Muammar Gaddafi on Libyan TV
Rebels began to organise from their Benghazi base and towns in the west fell to their forces for the first time. Government troops retaliated with ground assaults and bombing raids. In the capital, anti-government protesters came under gunfire from pro-Gaddafi troops.
As the international community condemned the attacks on civilians, an operation to evacuate hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals was launched.
But Col Gaddafi continued to tighten his grip and mounted further attacks on rebel-held cities to the west and east. Battles raged in Brega, Ras Lanuf and Bin Jawad, but rebels succeeded in taking Ras Lanuf. Zawiya and Misrata in the west also saw heavy fighting.
Col Gaddafi gave a rambling yet defiant televised speech, saying he would "fight until the last man".
Jeremy Bown on Col Gaddafi's defiant speech
Crisis escalates 7 - 18 March
Coalition bombing begins 19 - 20 March
The civilian population, which is demanding nothing more than the right to choose their own destiny, is in mortal danger."
French President Nicolas Sarkozy
The coalition launched air strikes against Libyan targets after government forces, despite having called a ceasefire 24 hours earlier, began a fierce attack on the eastern rebel-held city of Benghazi.
French aircraft fired the first shots, attacking an armoured convoy west of Benghazi. French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced "all necessary means" would be used to prevent further civilian deaths.
France, the US and the UK took part in the early missions. US commanders said the strikes had succeeded in crippling Gaddafi's air capability to allow the effective enforcement of the no-fly zone.
The strikes also appeared to have halted the advance of the Libyan leader's forces on Benghazi. But Col Gaddafi remained defiant. "We promise you a long, drawn-out war with no limits," he said in a phone call to Libyan state TV. "We will fight inch by inch."
Battle for Misrata 16 - 25 April
We are exhausted by blood and exhausted by death."
Dr Abdullah Jawad, casualty surgeon in Misrata
As battles raged in the east, the rebel-held western cities of Misrata and Zintan continued to come under rocket attack from Col Gaddafi's forces.
The intense shelling of Misrata became the focus of international concern, and boats began evacuating thousands of migrant workers trapped in the city.
As the UN moved food supplies into western Libya through a humanitarian corridor, the BBC saw evidence that cluster bombs were being used by pro-Gaddafi forces, a charge they denied.
The street battles led Nato countries to offer military advice and equipment to aid the rebel forces. Meanwhile, a Nato air strike badly damaged buildings in Col Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli.
Libya accused of using cluster bombs in Misrata
Stalemate 26 April - 12 August
Endgame 13 August - 20 October
People are raising hands out of their cars with the flag - they are celebrating."
Amani, Tripoli resident
After months of little progress, a major offensive by the rebels saw them push out from the west towards the towns of the coastal plain, breaking the deadlock. They took control of a series of strategic towns before capturing Tripoli.
The rebels' National Transitional Council - now recognised as the country's interim government - went on to make a failed attempt to negotiate a peaceful resolution to stand-offs in the remaining places controlled by loyalists.
As fighting continued, anti-Gaddafi forces went on to take the key southern town of Sabha and moved in on the remaining two loyalist strongholds, Bani Walid - south-east of Tripoli - and the fugitive leader's birthplace of Sirte.
NTC forces claimed victory in Bani Walid mid-October and Sirte fell some days later. Col Gaddafi's death was reported by the NTC shortly after.
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