Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Crowdfund Greek media instead of Greek debt!

Read more

THE DEBATE

Greece: better deal or bust (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Greece: better deal or bust (part 2)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Turkey's Border Bother: Ankara wary of emboldened Kurds (part 2)

Read more

FOCUS

Golan Heights' Druze minority urges action across border in Syria

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

How does IS group finance itself?

Read more

FACE-OFF

French terror attacks: A 'war of civilization'?

Read more

THE DEBATE

Turkey's Border Bother: Ankara wary of emboldened Kurds (part 1)

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: 'Tale of Tales', 'Love and Mercy' and 'Terminator Genisys'

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

Latest update : 2011-04-01

Libya, the battle of the East (part 1)

In the desert, anti-Gaddafi rebels launch their attack. For several days they seem unstoppable, Libya’s fate hangs in the balance. Having gained control of the east, the rebels move west, convinced that victory is close. Our reporters followed the advance of these young men who decided to grab a weapon and join the rebellion.

A special report by FRANCE 24's team: Jean-Marie Lemaire, Cyril Vanier, Chady Chlela, Jérôme Bonnard, Catherine Norris Trent, Willy Bracciano et Khalil Béchir.

Watch the second part of our exclusive report on Libya: 'The battle of the East'

I think the defining moment of our assignment in Libya took place in our hotel room in Ajdabiyah on Tuesday March 8th, as Ahmed finished trimming our sideburns. We were sending our latest report to the newsroom, and while the satellite fed the file through to Paris, we got the local barber to give us a cut.

He couldn’t have been more than 20 years old, dressed like a back-up dancer in a music video: sneakers, faded jeans, flashy T-shirt. As he put away his scissors, he looked slightly uneasy:

“Sorry guys, I have to go."

"Where?" we asked.

"To the frontline. I’m going to fight.”

The young, slightly chubby, fashion-conscious barber from Ajdabiyah was telling us he couldn’t hang around because he had a war to fight. One more combatant had joined the ranks of Libya’s rebellion.

Did he have any kind of military training? Did he know how to handle a weapon? No. But his friends were going, and he would too.

Ahmed packed his scissors, refused to take any money for the haircut, and left.

Although we did encounter some professional soldiers within the ranks of the rebellion, the majority of the insurgents we met were like Ahmed: improvised fighters.

We don’t know how much action Ahmed actually saw, how much fighting he got done, but that was the feeling in Ajdabiyah at the time: anyone who could, should rush to the frontline.

The rebels just prayed that their audacity and enthusiasm would translate into military victories. And for a while they did. Rebels made significant gains early March, capturing the towns of Brega, Ras Lanuf and Ben Jawad. But pro-Gaddafi forces mounted a counter-offensive and swiftly repelled the insurgency in those towns.

The inside story posted on this page brings together reporting from three separate France 24 teams in Libya - in the capital Tripoli and on the east coast - to give you a comprehensive picture of what is happening on the ground.

Watch the short version of our special report

 

By Cyril VANIER

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2015-06-26 Kenya

Kenya's vicious circle: Terrorism and counter-terrorism

Last April, two years after the massacre at the Nairobi shopping mall, Kenya was again plunged into horror. At Garissa University in eastern Kenya, 148 students were shot dead in...

Read more

2015-06-19 USA

Racial tensions linger in LA, city of Rodney King riots

As the US reels from the racist attack in Charleston, South Carolina, FRANCE 24's reporters went to Los Angeles, which has been deeply marked by racial tensions in recent years....

Read more

2015-06-12 Burma

The Great Rohingya 'Exodus'

In Burma, the stateless Rohingya minority, estimated at 1.3 million people, is systematically discriminated against by both the authorities and extremist Buddhist monks.

Read more

2015-06-05 Ukraine

Ukraine: A phoney war in strategic Mariupol

Mariupol is a strategic port on the Sea of Azov in eastern Ukraine. It is one of the last major eastern cities still controlled by Kiev, but it remains under constant threat from...

Read more

2015-05-29 Iraq

Video - Abu Azrael: ‘Iraq’s Rambo’

In the Iraqi army and on social networks, he’s an icon. Abu Azrael, a Rambo-like Shiite militiaman, has helped push back the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq. Our reporters went...

Read more