Thursday, March 31, 2011

Loyal to the regime to curb rebels near Sirte

Troops loyal to Colonel Muammar Gadhafi halted the rebel advance, which sought to control Sirte, the hometown of Libyan Col. Moammar Gadhafi. While the forces of the Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) air attacked the city from Saturday night, the insurgents have not been able to enter the city, heavily guarded by loyal to the regime.

The rebels fired mortars and machine guns in sporadic clashes with forces loyal to the president. The weekend opponents of the regime recovered the cities of Ajdabiya, Brega, Ras Lanuf and Ben Jawad, but yesterday they could only advance a few kilometers to Sirte. Journalists corroborated that the city is calm, the streets were deserted and shops closed, while NATO was flying overhead.

A supporter of Gadhafi confirms that no rebels approached the city. The soldiers kept their checkpoints and Libyan flags fluttering green. "If you want to come to Sirte, we will defend our city," police said Osama bin Nafaa, 32. The official news agency Sana reported that NATO forces bombed Sehba, tribal feud supporters to Gadhafi, "causing several casualties." Meanwhile, in the town of Misrata, the only West that was controlled by the rebels, yesterday was attacked by regime forces.

"Security was restored there," said the Foreign Minister, do not clearly specify whether the city had been retaken by pro Gadhafi troops. The television station Al Jazeera interviewed another rebel spokesman, who reported that forces loyal to the Libyan leader bombed the city of Zinta. In the nine days since the start of the NATO-led bombing the rebel-volunteer force has pushed up the coast from their stronghold in the capital Tripoli to Benghazi, regaining control of all major petroleum plants.

An official from the U.S. Treasury Department said the rebels Libyan crude oil could be sold without being subject to U.S. sanctions if driving transactions out of the National Oil Corp and other sanctioned entities in the Government of Gaddafi. Today representatives of over 40 countries and organizations will meet in London to "support the transition process in Libya." Meanwhile, Qatar yesterday admitted to the National Council as the legitimate body to manage the transition in Libya, so it became the first African country to support him and the second in the world after France.

The council was established on 27 February by the insurgents to lead the transition. The U.S. president, Barack Obama, and their counterparts in Germany, France and the UK, agreed that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has lost the legitimacy to rule and must relinquish power. But Obama said the operation is limited, and that if they try to overthrow Gadhafi by force "our coalition is divided, we should have troops on the ground, or risk many lives of civilians by attacking from the air." In a video conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama added: "To put it crudely, we did that in Iraq.

Thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our troops, we are hopeful about the future of Iraq. But it has taken eight years, the lives of thousands of Americans and Iraqis and billions of dollars. " The city of Sirte is strategically located almost midway in Benghazi, the city that the rebels control and Tripoli, the capital.

The number of inhabitants, according to the census of last year, is 75 thousand 358 people. Because this was born the Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, is an important bastion of support for the regime, so it considers the taking of control can swing the regime takes. If it falls Sirte, will be a great victory for the rebels and open the way open to go to Tripoli and Misrata, the only rebel stronghold still standing in the West.

However, the rebels have difficulty reaching the center of the city, although NATO forces bombed the city from Saturday.

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