Various sources report, that Libyan rebel forces, supported by increased NATO air activity, have captured a village southwest of Tripoli today, 6 July.
Although The Citizen says, that the rebels are 50 kilometers south of Tripoli, that seems to be too optimistic. The village captured – named by different sources either Gualish or al-Qawalish – appears to be the hamlet of el-Gawalesh, about 150 Kilometers southwest of Tripoli. The village lies in the Nafusa Mountains and in order to reach Tripoli, the National Transition Council (NTC) forces would have to leave these and cross the coastal plain.
Artillery and mortar fire was exchanged and after a six-hour battle the NTC troops took their objective. French planes had dropped supplies of arms and ammunition for the rebel forces recently and apparently that boosted their strength enough for the new offensive.
The offensive has been coordinated with NATO forces, a rebel commander was quoted. NATO has stepped up its strike sorties in the last days, 186 were conducted in the last three days, although a direct involvement in the latest rebel offensive did not happen.