Saturday 25 November 2017

Bloodbath warning as Gaddafi troops push back rebel forces

Mohammed Abbas in Ajdabiyah

Muammar Gaddafi's jets bombed Libyan rebels again yesterday in a move that has pushed them back 160 km in a week, far outpacing diplomatic efforts to impose a no-fly zone.

There is now a very real possibility that by the time world powers agree on a response to the conflict, Gaddafi's forces may already have won.

"Fundamental questions need to be answered, not just what we need to do, but how it's going to be done," said Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin.

"If there is a no-fly zone, who is going to implement it . . . without those details or answers, it's very hard to make a responsible decision."

Meanwhile, Libyan government artillery and tanks retook the small town of Zuwarah, 120 km west of Tripoli, after heavy bombardment.

They took the important eastern oil terminal town of Brega late on Sunday, and yesterday flew behind rebel lines to bomb Ajdabiyah, the only sizeable town between Brega and the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

Ajdabiyah commands roads to Benghazi and Tobruk that could allow Gaddafi's troops to encircle Libya's second city and its 300,000 inhabitants.

Soliman Bouchuiguir, president of the Libyan League for Human Rights, said if Gaddafi's forces broke through to attack Benghazi "there will be a real bloodbath, a massacre".

Irish Independent

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