Libya’s uprising is moving ever closer to Tripoli with rebels taking Zawiyah.
There are reports that troops loyal to Gaddafi are waiting to launch a counter-attack.
Zawiyah’s strategic significance lies in it being only 50 kilometres from the Libyan leader’s stronghold in the capital Tripoli.
But each gain for the rebels has not been without cost. Fierce fighting has left an unconfirmed number dead.
A doctor told reporters that he had been in Zawiyah for three days and he had seen 24 people shot dead.
“The militia shot the people with heavy guns, by using a bullet that explodes,” he said.
However there are pockets of Zawiyah, in the town’s suburbs where Muammar Gaddafi supporters kissed photographs of their leader, showing where their loyalties lay.