Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Burkina Faso's army chief assumes power after president ousted

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Action to end impunity for crimes against journalists

Read more

REPORTERS

USA - Mexico: A danger-ridden border

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Anger at death of young environmental protester

Read more

#TECH 24

Google's Cancer pill and Unicycle Solowheel

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

Hugues Pouget, Chocolate maker and CEO of Hugo & Victor

Read more

#THE 51%

Travelling safe

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Burkina Faso's army announces dissolution of government and parliament

Read more

ENCORE!

Are camera phones, selfies and Instagram destroying photography?

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 8.40 pm Paris time.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

Latest update : 2011-03-29

Libya, the battle of the East (part 2)

For over a week, rebel forces have been gaining ground on the eastern coast. But it is just a matter of time before government troops launch a counter-offensive.

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. 

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

Watch the short version of our special report

 

By Cyril VANIER

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2014-10-31 Mexico

USA - Mexico: A danger-ridden border

It’s one of the most porous borders in the world. Each month, abetted by smugglers working with drug cartels, thousands of Hispanic immigrants try to cross the frontier between...

Read more

2014-10-24 Spain

Why does Catalonia want to leave Spain?

On November 9, 2014, Catalans were due to vote in a referendum on independence. But the poll was cancelled by the Constitutional Court after Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s...

Read more

2014-10-17 Uruguay

Uruguay: President Mujica’s social revolution

By legalising both gay marriage and abortion, and decriminalising cannabis, Uruguay has become a real-life social laboratory in Latin America over recent years. The architect of...

Read more

2014-10-10 Haiti

Haiti: Injustice in a time of Cholera

FRANCE 24 reports on the UN’s role in the worst cholera outbreak in modern times. We shine a light on the lack of compassion shown towards the victims of Haiti’s cholera epidemic...

Read more

2014-09-30 Syria

Video: Syrian student risks her life to film IS group stronghold

FRANCE 24 has obtained rare footage secretly shot by a female student in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, the stronghold of the Islamic State group in Syria.

Read more