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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid