Photos given to the news agency Reuters show rebels fleeing Ajdabiyah in eastern Libya, giving credence to the state television claim that Colonel Gaddafi’s forces have taken control of the town.
Until recently rebels had been confident of marching upon the capital Tripoli and toppling Gaddafi.
Though reports are hard to verify it seems it is the government that is taking the upper hand all over the country. Adjbiyah was the last town on the road east before reacing the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.
Victory came after intense aerial bombardment over the past couple of days paving the way for a ground assault.
The opposition in Benghazi is gearing up for what could turn out to the most decisive battle yet.
It is a war of claim and counter-claim. One rebel website says the insurgents used a Mig jet fighter and a helicopter to sink two of Gaddafi’s warships, but so far there has been no independent verification of the claim.