Anti-Gaddafi fighters take control of Ras Lanuf

Monday 7 Mar 2011

Two weeks into intense fighting, Gaddafi loyalists and their mercenaries are still battling the anti-regime forces in a seemingly prolonged battle which has left Libyan cities devastated in its wake


Libyan fighters appear to be firmly in control of the eastern city of Ras Lanuf with its oil fields and airport. The anti-regime fighters have emptied the airport’s runways subsequently shutting them down.

Approaching the capital, the situation was more worrisome. Stationed only a few km from the eastern Libyan city of Ben Jawad – though not able to entre, Gaddafi loyalists still have the upper hand. Ben Jawad is heavily populated city close to the capital – considered by many Libyan’s to be a step closer to victory -- where Gaddafi loyalist have been known to take women and children, using them as human shields in order to prevent anti-regime fighters from firing back.

There is also the vast arms discrepancy to consider. Fighters armed with guns, grenades and shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles are no match for the regime's artillery, snipers, missiles and airstrike capabilities.

On Sunday, anti-Gaddafi fighters prematurely celebrated what they saw as a victory in their safe haven, letting their guard down and opening themselves up to a series of airstrikes. The number of casualties has thus far been hard to establish as Gaddafi's forces would not allow the retrieval of all the dead or injured. In some cases, the regime's forces disposed of the bodies or killed the injured.

The anti-Gaddafi fighters have been known to retreat a few meters after a defeat and then try again, hoping to come out victorious.

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