>Africa File: Libyan rebels down military aircraft as 2,000 pro-Qaddafi troops attempt to re-take Misurata, Zawiyah, French send aid to rebels

>Over the weekend, rebels in Misurata, Libya’s third largest city, and the strategic refinery town of Zawiyah fought back attempts by pro-Qaddafi forces to re-assume control over the region around the national capital Tripoli. A witness in Misurata told Reuters by telephone: “An aircraft was shot down this morning while it was firing on the local radio station. Protesters captured its crew. Fighting to control the military air base started last night and is still going on. Gaddafi’s forces control only a small part of the base. Protesters control a large part of this base where there is ammunition.”

Pictured above: Rebel militiamen in Nalut, 90 kilometers from Tunisian border, on February 27.

At the same time, rebel forces consisting of mutinous army units and militiamen have seized towns throughout western Libya. On February 28, The Telegraph quoted a lawyer in the town of Nalut, Shaban Abu Sitta, as saying: “The city has been liberated since February 19. It has been run by a revolutionary committee named by the town’s communities. The towns of Rhibat, Kabaw, Jado, Rogban, Zentan, Yefren, Kekla, Gherien and Hawamed have also been free for days. In all these towns, Gaddafi’s forces have gone and a revolutionary committee put in place.”

This weekend, the USA, the United Kingdom and the United Nations Security Council slapped economic sanctions on Libya. The European Union plans to apply sanctions against the embattled Qaddafi regime on Monday.

In Washington, US Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman, representing both main parties, have urged President Barack Hussein Obama to recognize the transitional government in Libya and provide anti-regime forces with weapons and humanitarian assistance to oust Gaddafi.

In Paris, Prime Minister François Fillon acknowledged that France is sending two planes with humanitarian aid to Benghazi, the opposition stronghold in eastern Libya. The planes will be ferrying doctors, nurses, medicines and medical equipment. “It will be the beginning of a massive operation of humanitarian support for the populations of liberated territories,” Fillon said on RTL radio. He explained that the French government was studying “all solutions” to the Libyan crisis, including military options, so that “Gadhafi understands that he should go, that he should leave power.”

One response to “>Africa File: Libyan rebels down military aircraft as 2,000 pro-Qaddafi troops attempt to re-take Misurata, Zawiyah, French send aid to rebels

  1. mah29001 March 1, 2011 at 5:47 am

    >Personally even though I see Colonel Gaddafi as a bad guy, and a dictator…I fear more a Libyan version of Yusuf al-Qaradawi will come about from this conflict and be worse than Gaddafi.For all I know is that the Libyan version of al-Qaradawi may accept Western help…and then betray his Western allies…and the Libyan version of al-Qaradawi will likely be a leader of the local Libyan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood whom have gone to depict Gaddafi as a "Zionist puppet".

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