News / Africa

Libyan Rebels Advance on Tripoli

People celebrate the recent news of uprising in Tripoli against Moammar Gadhafi's regime at the rebel-held town of Benghazi, Libya, early Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011
People celebrate the recent news of uprising in Tripoli against Moammar Gadhafi's regime at the rebel-held town of Benghazi, Libya, early Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011
Elizabeth Arrott

The Libyan rebels' main western force is reported to be on the outskirts of Tripoli, while opposition fighters inside the capital claim they have taken control of several districts.  Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi remains defiant, even as the battle seems to move swiftly against him.

The Libyan Rebellion

  • February 15, 2011: Inspired by Arab Spring revolts in Tunisia and Egypt, riots break out in Benghazi
  • February 26, 2011: The U.N. Security Council imposes sanctions on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and his family. The International Criminal Court is asked to investigate the crackdown on rebels.
  • March 19, 2011: U.S., Britain and France launch U.N.-mandated air attacks over Libya to halt advances on civilians by Mr. Gadhafi's forces.
  • March 30, 2011: Libyan Foreign Minister, Moussa Koussa, defects and flies to Britain. Other senior officials follow suit.
  • April 30, 2011: A NATO missile attack on a house in Tripoli kills Mr. Gadhafi's youngest son and three grandchildren.
  • June 27, 2011: The International Criminal Court issues arrest warrants for Mr. Gadhafi, his son Seif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi.
  • July 15, 2011: The United States recognizes the Transitional National Council as the legitimate government of Libya.
  • July 28, 2011: Former interior minister Abdel Fattah Younes, who defected to the rebels in February and became their military chief, is killed.
  • August 20, 2011: Rebels launch their first attack on the nation's capital, Tripoli, in coordination with NATO forces.

Western rebels pushed quickly toward Tripoli on Sunday, overrunning barracks of the elite Khamis brigade, led by Mr. Gadhafi's son. Residents of the capital said gun battles continued during the day and explosions could be heard across the city.

In an audio address late Sunday, his second in 24 hours, Moammar Gadhafi said he was in Tripoli and vowed to remain with his people "until the end."   He urged residents of the city to take up arms against the rebels, and promised that he and his supporters would win.

Hours earlier, government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said the city is prepared for a rebel assault."Tripoli is well protected and we have thousands upon thousands of professional soldiers who are ready to defend this city," he said.

The rebel advance appears to pose the most significant challenge to Mr. Gadhafi in the six months of the uprising.  It is unclear how much support the Libyan leader has in the capital.  Foreign reporters moving toward Tripoli say rebel forces have been greeted by civilians with cheers and rebel flags.

An official with the opposition Transitional National Council in Benghazi said it has information that troops loyal to Moammar Gadhafi have abandoned their weapons and positions outside of the capital.  He also spoke about rebel groups already in Tripoli.

Fathi Baji says rebels are approaching the Bab al-Aziza compound, Mr. Gadhafi's headquarters in Tripoli.  That report could not be independently confirmed.  Rebels to the east and south of Tripoli have consolidated recent gains and are trying to push on toward the capital.

Six months after the unrest began and after numerous set-backs, the rebels appear to be executing a coordinated effort to surround the capital.   They have cut major supply routes, although government forces still hold several regions farther east and to the south.

Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim called the rebels "armed gangs" whose success, he said, can be attributed to NATO help. "NATO has provided these rebels with weapons.  This is not a secret.  It is the weapons with which they are killing the Libyan people," he said.

NATO, working under a United Nations' mandate, has waged a five month air campaign against Libyan government forces, after loyalists tried to put down the wide-spread uprising.  Analysts warn that NATO might face difficulties as the battle shifts to the capital, where the alliance has kept up airstrikes on military positions.  Government forces in other towns have taken up posts in residential areas and are expected to do the same in Tripoli, home to at least a fourth of Libya's population.

Meanwhile, support for Moammar Gadhafi continues to erode.  His former deputy, Abdel Salam Jalloud, has called on the people of Tripoli to rise up against the government.  Jalloud is the third top defection reported in a week.  And neighboring Tunisia, formerly neutral in the conflict, has announced it is recognizing the rebel leadership.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid