Libyan rebels have been forced into further retreat under attack from Colonel Gaddafi’s forces, losing control of at least one major town.
They have been forced out of Bin Jawad. Some reports say the rebels have also lost the important oil town of Ras Lanuf, although fighting is said to be continuing.
The rapid retreat comes just two days after the rebels had raced westward in hot pursuit of the government army. Now they are heading in the opposite direction.
Without allied air strikes, it seems they are no match for the superior organisation and weaponry of Gaddafi’s troops.
The changing fortunes of the largely amateur army raise plenty of questions.
As well as their lack of organisation, there are also doubts over their capacity to use properly the weapons at their disposal – often looted from government arms depots.
Away from the front line, the UN refugee agency is concerned for the welfare of thousands of civilians who have fled their homes.