Outgunned and ill-trained, Libya’s rebels look increasingly vulnerable in the face of Colonel Gaddafi’s ferocious firepower.
Their enthusiasm may be in tact but the fighters are up against a mounting counter-offensive by forces loyal to the Libyan leader.
Rebels have been fleeing the strategic oil port of Ras Lanuf, say reports, and the western town of Zawiyah is said to be back in government hands.
Top US intelligence officials are now saying the rebels have lost momentum and are not likely to dislodge Gaddafi.
Quite simply, without outside intervention, the opposition cannot match Tripoli’s thunder.
Denouncing Colonel Gaddafi as a “dog”, one rebel fighter outside Ras Lanuf said the Libyan leader has “ruined our lives” with his bombardments.
As the casualty toll mounts, the African Union rejected any form of foreign military intervention.
For the International Committee of the Red Cross and some UN diplomats, the conflict in Libya has now descended into civil war.