News / Africa

Libyan Rebels Move to Regain Lost Ground

Libyan rebels duck for cover during a failed attempt to take the town of Ajdabiya from Moammar Gadhafi's forces, March 21, 2011
Libyan rebels duck for cover during a failed attempt to take the town of Ajdabiya from Moammar Gadhafi's forces, March 21, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +

Libyan rebels are taking advantage of the international assault on the government's military positions, reclaiming territory lost over the past 10 days.  

Libyan opposition forces celebrated the allied military action, which cleared the highway south of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.  It was part of assaults, that also included setting up a no-fly zone to protect Libyan civilians from government forces.

After regrouping Monday, the rebels pushed back against troops loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi, and were moving on the next major town, Ajdabiya, where government positions came under attack early in the day.

But opposition sources in the western town of Misrata said government troops continue to encircle the town, using civilians as a shield against any attack by foreign forces.  Their accounts could not be independently verified.

In the capital Tripoli, pro-Gadhafi forces were inspecting damage inflicted on their leader's Bab al Aziziya compound the evening before.

Speaking by phone from Tripoli, Saleh Ibrahim, dean of the government-run Postgraduate Studies Academy, decried the missile attack.

Ibrahim says that Libyans believe it was outside the scope of the U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing force to establish the no-fly zone.   Ibrahim contends the assault has "targeted" civilians.

It was not clear whether anyone was hurt in the attack on the Gadhafi compound.  But Libya's government has said dozens of people have been killed since coalition air and missile strikes, led by the United States, Britain and France, began Saturday.

General Carter Ham, head of the U.S. Africa command, said the coalition was very conscientious about limiting civilian casualties.  

The Libyan claims could not be independently verified, but they prompted some to raise concerns about the mission.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle spoke Monday as European Union officials were meeting in Brussels. "This does not mean that we are neutral.  This does not mean that we have any sympathy with the dictator Gadhafi.  But it means that we see the risks, and when we listen closely to what the Arab League yesterday said, unfortunately, we see that we had reasons for our concern," he said.

Westerwelle was referring to worries raised by Arab League chief Amr Moussa, who said Sunday that military actions have gone beyond the no-fly zone he says was envisioned.  Moussa appeared to retreat somewhat from that criticism in a meeting Monday with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Talking to reporters in Cairo, Ban said it is important the international community speak with one voice. "The support of the Arab League figured prominently in the Security Council's adoption of a historic Security Council resolution authorizing the use of all necessary measures to protect civilians and save lives, including a no-fly zone," he said.

Pro-Gadhafi supporters in Cairo showed their displeasure with the international assault, harassing the U.N. chief during a visit to Tahrir Square.

He had just left the nearby Arab League headquarters, where regional leaders have walked a fine line in their dealings with Libya.  There is little affection among them for Colonel Gadhafi, but international action against a long-ruling autocrat has left many in the Arab world unsettled.

Some observers are not surprised by the ambivalence shown.  

"We cannot expect the League of Arab States to not issue a statement condemning the killing of Arab civilians.  The important fact here is that all the reports about the number of civilians falling dead due to the air strikes is actually coming from Libyan national television, which has proved zero credibility over the past crisis," he said.

Akl believes that Arab League members trying to distance themselves from the campaign may review their position once more facts come out.

Also Monday, the Libyan government released four journalists from The New York Times .   The four went missing last Tuesday.  Libya's government later said the four were in its custody, and accused them of entering the country illegally.

In pictures: Conflict and Chaos in Libya

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population 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.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
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.
AppleAndroid