See also:
» 29.01.2013 - Libya peace very fragile, warns UN
» 31.03.2011 - Libya's Foreign Minister defects
» 24.03.2011 - How cyber-activism lent savvy to North African protests
» 18.03.2011 - Ten nations ready to attack Ghaddafi regime
» 18.03.2011 - Africa defies AU chief's support for Ghaddafi
» 18.03.2011 - France: We can start bombing Libya tonight
» 17.03.2011 - Libya rebels shoot down fighter jets
» 15.03.2011 - Ghaddafi thanks Germany, Russia and China

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Politics | Human rights

Will there be a battle of Tripoli?

"Liberated areas" in Libya, 23 February

© afrol News
afrol News, 23 February
- As the Ghaddafi regime quickly is losing its last supporters, the terrified residents of Tripoli are asking themselves if there will be a final battle in the city, or if the regime just will collapse.

Reports from the Libyan capital this evening are contradicting. Several sources repeat that the streets of Tripoli are dominated by the regime's last thugs, plain-cloth men armed with anything from machine guns to sables, and occasional police and army units.

The same reports say protesters have not been able to take to the streets today due to the murdering gangs dominating Tripoli. People, these reports say, rather protest by staying at home, defying government orders to go to work.

But there are reports from other parts of Tripoli saying protesters indeed are dominating the streets today. These Tripoli sources insist their parts of the city are calm during daytime, with protesters in control, while mobs take over the streets during night, shooting at anything that moves.

The latest reports from Tripoli this evening say that there are less and less uniformed men in the streets. "Some gunshots are heard, but less than yesterday and the day before," an eyewitness reports from the Libyan capital.

Despite these contradicting reports, there is no doubt that the Ghaddafi regime further has weakened its position in Libya at large and Tripoli in particular today. The clearest signal has been the lack of large pro-Ghaddafi protests today. The Colonel yesterday gave a direct order to his peopl

Armed troops in the street of Tripoli's Fashloom neighbourhood today

© Anonymous/afrol News
e to go out in the streets and march in his support. They didn't.

He also called on Libyan security forces to "go from house to house" to oust the protesters. Police forces during the last week have done just that, but today, there were fewer uniformed men to be seen in Tripoli. Also in Tripoli, many police and army officers are now refusing to follow orders.

Meanwhile, the area under the regime's control is rapidly decreasing. The outskirts of Tripoli are rapidly falling into the hands of protesters, often supported by army and police units.

Only a few days ago, the "liberated area" was confined to the north-eastern coast of Libya, around the cities of Benghazi and al-Bayda and towards the Egyptian border. The liberated area quickly was expanding westwards.

Today, almost all populated places in Libya are dominated or controlled by the protesters. Even the isolated Sahara town Al-Jawf in the Kufra Oasis today reports that the pre-Ghaddafi Libyan flag has been hoisted. "Young people have taken complete control of the city," a merry message from Kufra said today. Protesters were also in control of the Chadian border.

More significantly, western Libya is now almost completely "liberated", with towns and cities less than 40 kilometres away from Tripoli, such as Zawiya, hoisitng the blac

All shops in Tripoli's Fernaj neighbourhood have been closed today

© Anonymous/afrol News
k-green-red flag. The major western cities of Misrata, Al-Khums and Zuwara are mostly in control of the protesters, as is the Tunisian border, although the roads between them are still partly controlled by forces loyal to Mr Ghaddafi.

Outside Tripoli, there is only fighting in towns very close to the capital, including the Tajura suburb, and there are unconfirmed reports that Syrte, Mr Ghaddafi's home town, has been attacked by loyal troops after having been on protesters' hands for over one day. Regarding the desert town of Ghadames, there are contradicting messages.

All these "liberated areas" now are seeing increasing cooperation between civilians and the armed forces. Peoples' committees are being set up to secure peace and order, and the army is voluntarily receiving weapons earlier seized by the protesters. There is more and more talk about sending these troops loyal to the people to Tripoli to assist civilians there.

In Tripoli, the army is of course aware that most of its brothers have already deserted or joined the protesters. It is assumed that the numbers still loyal to Mr Ghaddafi is quickly dwindling.

Tripoli residents therefore hope they can avoid the feared "final battle", as the possibility increased that the remaining armed forces in the capital may soon switch sides.

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