Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces inflicted a severe setback on rebels Saturday when they closed in on the town of Zawiyah near Tripoli. The rebels also claimed victory in the eastern town of Ras Lanuf.
REUTERS - Libyan forces closed in on the western town of Zawiyah on Saturday after rebels drove them from the centre in fierce fighting, while in the east, opponents of Muammar Gaddafi pushed towards his home town.
Frontline moving west, says FRANCE 24's Cyril Vanier in Libya
People opposed to Gaddafi's 41-year rule have been fighting his forces in Zawiyah for more than a week, after rebels took over swathes of eastern Libya in an uprising inspired by the overthrow of longterm rulers in Egypt and Tunisia this year.
Anti-Gaddafi protesters defy regime in Tripoli, says FRance 24's Catherine Norris-Trent
By mid-morning, the Mediterranean town was encircled by Gaddafi's forces, who were manning checkpoints some 3 km (1.8 miles) from the centre.
Rebels in eastern Libya said they were pushing further west after driving out forces loyal to Gaddafi from the oil town of Ras Lanuf on Friday. They said they had fired on an army helicopter swooping over Ras Lanuf on Saturday.
Date created : 2011-03-05