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Rebels make progress toward Tripoli

07-31-2011 08:26 BJT Special Report:Int'l Intervention in Libya |

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Rebels say they've encircled leader Muammar Gaddafi's last stronghold in Libya's Western Mountain region, and hope to seize it soon.

Rebel tanks fired at Tiji, where an estimated 500 government troops are stationed, and the blasts could be heard from nearby Hawamid, a town 200 kilometers southwest of Tripoli, which was captured Thursday in a new offensive against the army.

Despite poor firepower and little experience, rebels captured several towns and villages where government forces have been dug in along plains below the Western Mountains.

Seizing Tiji would give the rebels a strategic and psychological boost, and could make it easier for the insurgents, who hold a chain of towns stretching more than 200 kilometers across a bleak mountain plateau from the Tunisian border, to gain access to a key highway leading to Tripoli.

Six months into the uprising the war remains deadlocked, and with the fasting month of Ramadan due to begin shortly, fighting may subside, so no major changes can be expected.

But rebel successes in the Western Mountain plains, where the rough desert terrain offers few hiding places from Gaddafi's missiles, seem to have raised spirits.

Soldiers loyal to Gaddafi captured in the offensive say the army has lost the will to fight and predicted Gaddafi could fall in coming months, or even weeks.

Poor army morale may also have helped Gaddafi's opponents, who came from all walks of life, to try to end his rule.



Editor:Liu Fang |Source: CNTV.CN

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