Libyan rebels have been forced to make a rapid retreat from Sirte in the face of Muammar Gaddafi’s better armed and better organised troops.
The fortunes of war keep changing. The crucial factor is allied air strikes. Without them, the rebels seem unable to make advances or even hold positions.
The rebel advance westward got within 80 km of the Gaddafi stronghold of Sirte when they were pushed back even beyond Bin Jawad.
Reports that some residents in the town of Nawfaliyah fought alongside government troops are an ominous sign for world powers hoping to end Gaddafi’s rule without a descent into all-out civil war.
A hospital apparently hit by an airstrike was shown on Libyan TV. Journalists were unable to verify the source of injuries to 13 people but the town of Mizda had evidently been damaged by some sort of military hardware.