Wednesday, 17 August: Rebel fighters have taken a village south of Misratha and are still clinging to the city of Az Zawiyah, west of the capital, despite a counter attack by Gaddafi forces.
Today, Libyan rebel forces have taken the village of Abu Qurain on the road between Tripolis and Sirte. Sirte is not only Gaddafi’s homtown, it is also one of the centers in the oil-rich Sirte Gulf.
The rebels also holding on to the city of Az Zawiyah despite counter attacks by loyalist forces. Gaddafi troops are shelling the city according to a rebel spokesman. At least 23 people died yesterday, scores were wounded. An eyewitness talking to Al Jazeera said, that the rebels have cut all oil pipelines transporting fuel to Tripoli. The claim could not be verified independently.
While the rebels are closing in on Tripoli, it seems that talks between the rebels and Gaddafi representatives in Tunisia are going on despite claims to the contrary by both parties. UN envoy Abdul Ilah al-Khatib also arrived in Tunisia earlier this week. He told Reuters that he would meet “Libyan personalities residing in Tunisia” to discuss the conflict.
Meanwhile the Dutch government has approved a request by the World Health Organization (WHO) to un-freeze $ 3 billion worth of Libyan assets in the Netherlands on humanitarian grounds. The WHO says it needs the money to feed the needy in Libya.