The rebels captured Ajdabiya yesterday. Today they captured Ras Lanuf, Brega, Tobruk, Bayda, Bin Jawad and Uqayla in a huge push that has forced Qaddafi’s troops to retreat dozens of miles to the west.
In Brega Qaddafi’s troops abandoned artillery equipment and fled in civilian cars, according to AJ.
As the rebels drive forward they face little resistance and leave no trace of battle, reports The Telegraph’s Rob Crilly.
At Ras Lanuf Qaddafi’s troops left stores of weapons and ammunition, according to AJ. There were also piles of unactivated land mines.
Libyan government officials seem shocked by the rebels advance, which has not been mentioned on state TV, reports CNN’s Nic Robertson.
However, the next step in the rebel’s offensive may be harder. This is Surt, Qaddafi’s home town and the place where a rebel offensive was stopped several weeks ago. Rebel commanders also say they are worried about a counterstrike from Qaddafi.
Targeted airstrikes on Qaddafi’s tanks and other equipment are seen as the game changer. These are also controversial, as Libya cites them as evidence that coalition forces are overstepping the UN mandate to protect civilians. Libya also blames the airstrikes for causing civilian casualties. The U.S. responded by accusing Libya of placing dead bodies near airstrike targets.
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