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No-fly Zone Gains Favor as Gadhafi Continues Attacks
March 12, 2011

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Calls for a no-fly zone over Libya have grown, with the Arab League voting to join pleas from France and the United Kingdom for the United Nations to get involved in the airspace over Libya's civil war. However, Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi still seems very much in control of his capital and seems to have the momentum militarily.

In response to a few weeks of successes by protesters and rebels, who now compare much of the east of Libya, including Benghazi, the second-largest city, Gadhafi has marshaled militia and mercenaries loyal to him and struck back militarily, shelling rebel-held towns and lands in an attempt to hold onto the rule that has been his since 1969.

Libyan tanks, planes, and troops reclaimed possession of Zawiyah, a town west of the capital, Tripoli, that had been in rebel hands for a number of weeks. The death toll was unknown, largely because much of the town was destroyed.

Also in government hands was the important oil town of Ras Lanuf, which had been the point of intense fighting in the past week. Gadhafi's forces had more recently turned their targets on Misrata, the third-largest city and another important town near Ras Lanuf.

The government's forces continue to have the upper hand in terms of weapons and ammunition and military training, and the opposition forces continue to be in control of more territory, including many vital ports along the northern Mediterranean coast. However, with little backing from outside forces, the supplies of the rebels are beginning to wear thin.



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