Libyan Rebels Gain Ground, Move West
Updated from Sunday, March 27
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With the aid of Western air strikes, Libya's rebel army has pushed west to retake a series of towns lost to forces loyal to strongman Moammar Gadhafi, reports said.
Rebels have regained control of all the main oil terminals in eastern Libya, as far as the town of Bin Jawad, Reuters reported.
Rebels on Monday said they had captured Sirte, Gadhafi's hometown, but there was no independent confirmation of the report, Reuters said.NATO on Sunday agreed to take full responsibility for coalition military operations in Libya and to maintain the no-fly zone over the country. NATO will take control in the next day or two from the United Nations. On Sunday, rebel forces gained retook the two key oil complexes of Ras Lanouf and Brega, The Associated Press reported. The rebels continued their westward march toward the capital of Tripoli. The victories on Sunday came a day after the rebels took back control of the key eastern city of Ajdabiya. Before the uprising, Ras Lanouf and Brega had been responsible for a significant portion of Libya's oil exports, but production is either at a trickle or has stopped completely because of the conflict, the AP noted. The top financial official for the rebels said that the government of Qatar had agreed to sell oil for the rebels, but it's not clear whether there's any oil to market at this point, the AP reported. On Saturday, the Gadhafi regime said the coalition air strikes had made its forces retreat and said the coalition had taken sides in the conflict, the AP said. "This is the objective of the coalition now, it is not to protect civilians because now they are directly fighting against the armed forces," Khaled Kaim, the deputy foreign minister, was quoted saying by the AP. "They are trying to push the country to the brink of a civil war."
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