Politics & Policy

Rebel Take Ras Lanuf ‘Without Resistance,”

 

From the Times:

After clashes with government forces overnight near the town of Al Uqaylah, rebel fighters met little resistance on Sunday as they pushed from the city of Ajdabiya past the oil towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf, recapturing the two important refineries. By the evening, they had pushed the front line west of Bin Jawwad, according to fighters returning from the front.

“There wasn’t resistance,” said Faraj Sheydani, 42, a rebel fighter interviewed on his return from the front. “There was no one in front of us. There’s no fighting.”

In Tripoli, the explosions of about 10 large bombs near the city were heard downtown on Sunday night, followed by barrages of antiaircraft fire and cascades of tracers. At a news conference, a short time later, Musa Ibrahim, a government spokesman, declined to comment on the exact location of the battle lines. But he argued that Western powers were now attacking the Libyan Army in retreat, a far cry from the United Nationsmandate to establish a no-fly zone to protect civilians.

“Some were attacked as they were clearly moving westbound,” he said. “Clearly NATO is taking sides in this civil conflict. It is illegal. It is not allowed by the Security Council resolution. And it is immoral, of course.”

In western Libya, however, the rebel-held city of Misurata was still under siege by loyalist forces. By Sunday evening, rebels were again reporting street fighting in the center of the city as well as renewed shelling and mortar fire from Qaddafi tanks and artillery from west and northwest of the city.

Analysts are now saying the important battle will be for Surt, and that allied airstrikes are already paving the way.

 

Many people in Tripoli, including those supporting Colonel Qaddafi and those opposing him, said they were focused closely on the battle for Surt.

If Surt falls, “it is game over,” one man said, insisting that the atmosphere in the capital was already slipping. “The government is losing control,” he said. “You can feel it.”

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