Libya: Opposition Gains Some Ground in the West

At least three Libyan opposition fighters have been killed on Sunday in clashes near the northern town of Zlitan, just 160km from the capital Tripoli, as government troops fought rebel forces for control of the town.

Several other opposition soldiers were injured in the fighting on Sunday, Al Jazeera reported.

Opposition forces were also under attack in the newly captured town of Bi’r al-Ghanam, where Gaddafi forces launched an offensive to regain control of the town. The rebel forces are attempting to get closer to Tripoli and they expressed hope earlier this week that they would reach the capital before the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The overall impression seems to be that the opposition fighters are better organised and better trained than earlier in their campaign to topple Gaddafi. Rebel fighters are not only volunteers from the western Nafusa Mountains, they come from all over the country to join the fight.

If the opposition forces manage to hang on the town of Bi’r al-Ghanam they would have a staging area for an attack on Tripoli, only 95 Kilometers further to the northeast. The next step might be an offensive to the north along the road to Az Zawiyah on the coast or a more daring move directly towards the capital.

Meanwhile, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev said that attempts to restore order in Libya from the outside by military means are wrong. He stressed that Russia is not taking part in this military operation, no matter that some countries are trying to establish order in Libya by military means.

(Sources: AL-Jazeera, ITAR-TASS; 8 August 2011)


About Johann Brandstätter

Photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Bulgaria, working mainly in the Balkans and the Middle East. Conflicts & crises, social and environmental issues, defense & military, travel, transportation.
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