Sub-editor, World Desk, London, London
Peter's Feed
Jul 17, 2011

Heavy casualties reported in Libya fighting

FRONT LINE NEAR BIR GHANAM, Libya (Reuters) – Ten Libyan rebels were reported killed and 172 wounded in an attack on the eastern oil port of Brega on Saturday, while insurgents drove back forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi in the west.

In the latest of a series of speeches apparently designed to show he enjoys support in the areas he controls, Gaddafi described the rebels as worthless traitors and rejected suggestions that he was about to leave the country.

Jul 16, 2011

Heavy clashes erupt in western Libya

BIR AYAD, Libya (Reuters) – Heavy clashes between rebels and forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi broke out on Saturday on the front line in Libya’s Western Mountains at the town of Bir Ghanam, as insurgents seek to push toward Tripoli.

Sustained gunfire and volleys of artillery could be heard from the village of Bir Ayad, 15 km (9 miles) south of Bir Ghanam. Rebels at Bir Ghanam hold the high ground on the outskirts of the town, their closest position to the capital, Tripoli, about 80 km (48 miles) away.

Jul 14, 2011

Divisions hamper Libyan rebel fighters’ advance

ZINTAN, Libya (Reuters) – The rebels in Libya’s Western Mountains have shown resilience over months of battling Muammar Gaddafi’s forces, but divided loyalties could frustrate their ambitions for a quick march on Tripoli.

Rebel fighters in the region, about 100 km (60 miles) south of Tripoli are not organized into a single unit. Instead they are split by town and sometimes also by ethnic group, making it tough for them to sustain an offensive beyond their home turf.

Jul 14, 2011

Libya rebels regroup after battle exposes weakness

AL-QAWALISH, Libya, July 14 (Reuters) – Libyan
rebel fighters prepared for a new offensive south of Tripoli on
Thursday but tactical errors raised new questions about whether
they will be able to march on the capital.

Western states are frustrated by a five-month rebel campaign
that — despite support from NATO warplanes — has failed to
overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and some governments
are now looking instead to talks as a way out of the conflict.

Jul 14, 2011

Libyan rebels dig in to hold front line village

AL-QAWALISH, Libya, July 14 (Reuters) – Libyan rebel
fighters were digging in to this village south of Tripoli on
Thursday after losing it then taking it back in a see-saw battle
that exposed the military frailties of rebel forces.

Rebel fighters took the village, a staging post on the way
to the capital about 100 km (60 miles) north, a week ago, then
they lost it to government troops on Wednesday morning, and by
nightfall they were back in control.

Jul 13, 2011

Gaddafi troops retake village south of Tripoli

ZINTAN, Libya (Reuters) – Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Wednesday retook a village south of the capital seized by rebels a week ago, delivering a set-back to rebel plans for a march on Tripoli.

The loss of the village of Al-Qawalish, about 100 km (60 miles) from the capital, underlined the faltering pattern of the rebel advances that has led some of the rebels’ Western backers to push for a political solution to the conflict instead.

Jul 13, 2011

Gaddafi troops in counter-attack south of Tripoli

AL-QAWALISH, Libya (Reuters) – Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Wednesday tried to re-take a village south of the capital seized by rebels a week ago, delivering a set-back to rebel plans for a march on Tripoli.

The fighting in the village of Al-Qawalish, about 100 km (60 miles) from the capital, underlined the faltering pattern of the rebel advances that has led some of the rebels’ Western backers to push for a political solution to the conflict instead.

Jul 12, 2011

Libya rebel minister opens Western Mountains air link

RHEBAT, Libya, July 12 (Reuters) – A senior minister in the
Libyan rebel Transitional National Council opened an airfield on
Tuesday linking the rebel capital Benghazi with a remote Western
Mountain stronghold south of Tripoli, and promised a military
breakthrough within days.

Ali Tarhouni, oil and finance minister in the council
opposing Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, arrived and departed by
air at the Rhebat air strip, a stretch of mountain highway,
where a giant yellow arrow painted on the tarmac marks out the
runway, next to a blue and white shack flying the rebel flag.

Jul 11, 2011

Berber culture reborn in Libya revolt

JADU, Libya (Reuters) – In a packed classroom on a cool evening near the front line in Libya’s civil war, 15-year-old Mira is teaching children to spell out the names of animals in the ancient Berber script, an act that once could have landed her in one of Muammar Gaddafi’s jails.

The indigenous people of north Africa, known to others as Berbers and among themselves as Amazigh, were brutally suppressed under Gaddafi, who considered the teaching of their language and culture to be a form of imperialism in his Arab country.

Jul 10, 2011

Gaddafi forces shell rebels south of Libyan capital

AL-QAWALISH, Libya, July 10 (Reuters) – Forces loyal to
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi let loose a heavy artillery
bombardment on Sunday to try to push back rebel fighters who had
taken a village about 100 km (60 miles) south of Tripoli.

Al-Qawalish is a strategic battleground in the rebels’ march
on the capital because if the they manage to advance beyond it
they will reach the main highway leading north into Tripoli,
where Gaddafi has his main stronghold.