Libyan rebels seized two villages on Wednesday as they sought control of a key junction connecting the towns of Yefren and Zintan, west of Tripoli, an AFP correspondent reported.
Rebels were seen patrolling the streets of Zawit Bagoul, some 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) from Zintan, and searching houses that had been occupied by forces loyal to Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
Gaddafi positions on the outskirts of Zawit Bagoul were deserted and loyalists left behind clothes, shoes and ammunition, the correspondent said. Later in the afternoon the rebels moved into the second village, Lawania, about seven kilometres away.
During the past three days, the rebels have been engaged in fighting with loyalist forces as they attempt to seize Zintan and Yefren.
On Tuesday they took control of Al-Rayayna, home to some 10,000 residents.
Gaddafi forces responded to the rebel advance on Al-Rayayna by firing Grad rockets at the village, which is on the strategic route connecting Zintan and Yefren.
In its latest operational update, NATO said Wednesday it struck several targets including a truck-mounted gun near Yefren.