Libyan rebels retreat, forge new plan

After their lightning advance, rebel forces have been stopped and pushed back from the city of Sirt. Reports say they might use the home town of Gaddafi as a springboard for their march on Tripoli, or bypass it.

On Tuesday, under the heavy fire of Gaddafi’s artillery, rebels were forced to retreat to the city of Ben-Jawad, some 150km away from Sirt. The rebels are now considering going around the city, if they cannot break through Gaddafi’s defense. They say they may head for the city of Misurata, the last and only rebel stronghold in the western part of Libya, reports RT’s Paula Slier from Tripoli.

Meanwhile in Misurata, a humanitarian crisis is taking place. Over 4,000 Egyptians and other Africans are housed there in tents, with eight of them already confirmed to have died from starvation.

There are reports from doctors in Sirt who say they are treating hundreds of patients wounded and crippled by the recent air strikes. They also say it is impossible to determine how many people have been killed, as many have died on the sides of the roads and have been just buried there.

There has been another night of air strikes in Libya and a number of military targets have been hit, along with reports that some civilian areas have been struck.

As rebels seem to be able to make good on their promise to enter Tripoli, local residents feel themselves under threat of siege and there is a growing fear that there could be an impending blood bath in the capital city, reports RT’s Paula Slier from Tripoli.

Within two days Tripoli could run out of fuel, and large queues of people are already gathering outside bakeries and other food stores.

The defense officials admit that the number of air strikes has increased in recent days and pointed out that, despite all the reconnaissance, more and more of these strikes are happening in urban areas, increasing the number of civilian casualties.

On Monday the Pentagon admitted they were using AC-130 and AC-10, which can hardly be called high-accuracy planes for hitting military targets, Lieutenant General Leonid Sazhin told Itar-Tass news agency.

“These are fighter aircraft designed for hitting personnel targets and destroying military weaponry on the ground,” he said.“Apparently the use of AC-130 and AC-10 planes might have helped the rebels to advance in several directions. The application of these planes literally means that Americans are helping the rebels on the land front.”

It is up to the Libyan people to decide

­Rebels have no confusion with specifying their ultimate goal, which is to get rid of Gaddafi’s regime and to establish a new order in the country. They are ready to do whatever it takes to achieve it.

The opposition says that this is going to be a democratic country. They are stressing that they do not want any third side to tell them what sort of system to build, as it is up to the Libyan people to decide what kind of regime they need in their country and what to do with Gaddafi and his family, reports RT correspondent Egor Piskunov from the rebel stronghold Benghazi.

However they are ready to listen to some advice coming from the West, particularly from Germany, France, and the UK.

In the east of the country the opposition seems to be in full control. The rebels have organized an authority body, the Transitional Council, and are now dividing responsibilities in different areas of life, such as economy, industry, law and order.

The rebels believe in revolution and keep their spirits high as there are some successful results, despite their failure to capture the city of Sirt, which holds a special symbolic value as Gaddafi’s hometown. They were able to retake control of most of the towns they lost to Gaddafi a week ago.

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