lunes, 7 de marzo de 2011

Pro-Gaddafi forces block rebels

 Libyan rebel lookout in Bin Jawad (6 March 2011) Rebels pulled back from Bin Jawad, which has now fallen to pro-Gaddafi forces Libyan government forces are advancing towards the oil port of Ras Lanuf, checking the rebels' westward progress. The town of Bin Jawad, 60km (40 miles) from Ras Lanuf, has now fallen to forces loyal to Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi.
The UN has named a former Jordanian foreign minister as its envoy to Libya, where the anti-Gaddafi revolt is now in its third week.
It is also demanding access to the town of Misrata after fierce fighting there.
Civilian toll During the hours of darkness, the shooting and rocketing here died down. But as the sun came up over the eastern Mediterranean, explosions started again.
The rebels are at a real disadvantage here, for two reasons: Col Gaddafi's troops, who are now fighting in his tribal heartland, are better equipped and stronger than they were during the fighting farther back to the east.
And according to the rebels, the Gaddafi loyalists have taken over houses in the town and forced the inhabitants to stay there as human shields.
The rebels had been planning to bring up some heavy weapons during the night, and were hoping this would frighten the pro-Gaddafi troops into retreating.
There's no doubt, though, that the rebels are having a much harder time of it now than they were last week.
Rebels have been trying to fight off a counter-offensive by Gaddafi forces, which have been attacking both near Tripoli and in the east after recent rebel gains.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Jordan's former foreign minister, Abdelilah Al-Khatib, as his special envoy.
A statement from Mr Ban's office said he noted "that civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence, and calls for an immediate halt to the government's disproportionate use of force and indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets".
Mr Ban also said Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Kusa had agreed to accept the immediate dispatch of a humanitarian assessment team to the capital.
UN relief co-ordinator Valerie Amos said that after heavy fighting in Misrata, 200km (125 miles) east of Tripoli, "people are injured and dying and need help immediately".
A local doctor told the BBC that 21 dead and more than 100 wounded had been brought to his hospital, which he said was also targeted by government troops.
Map of Libya
He said the fighting went on for at least six hours.
With a population of 300,000, Misrata is the largest town controlled by rebels outside their stronghold in the eastern part of the country.
Residents have called for the international community to establish a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent Col Gaddafi's air force from attacking.
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