Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

India - Pakistan: A new generation takes up arms in Kashmir

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

The road to exile: A Syrian family’s journey across Europe

Read more

ENCORE!

Film Show: Wes Craven, ‘The Brand New Testament’, ‘This Ain't California’

Read more

FACE-OFF

How Europe’s migrant crisis became a political battle

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

France cracks down on internship abuses with system overhaul

Read more

THE DEBATE

Ukraine's warmongers: Far-right blamed for Kiev grenade attack (part 2)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Ukraine's warmongers: Far-right blamed for Kiev grenade attack (part 1)

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Enough with dirty Paris!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Chinese journalist apologises 'for contributing to market turmoil'

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 : 2011-03-29

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

2015-08-27 Sahara

Meet the French troops hunting jihadists in Sahel

We take you inside "Operation Barkhane", France's anti-terrorist operation in Africa’s Sahel and Sahara.

Read more

2015-08-21 Kenya

Kenya's Iten: Home of athletic champions

The small town of Iten in Kenya is a long distance runner’s paradise. Dozens of champions have trained in the town, situated at an altitude of 2,600 metres. It has become the...

Read more

2015-08-14 Afghanistan

The Afghan interpreters left behind by the French army

At the end of 2014, the French army completely withdrew from Afghanistan. But it left behind its former Afghan interpreters who now live in fear of the Taliban, who accuse them...

Read more

2015-07-21 Iran

Iran: How the nuclear deal was done

On July 14th, Iran and six world powers struck a deal that brought an end to over 12 years of bitter stalemate. Tehran, suspected by some nations of attempting to acquire an...

Read more

2015-07-17 India

India's Christians forced to pray in secret

Many Christians in India have to pray in secret. Churches are being set on fire, believers attacked and property vandalised. This rising tide of violence shows no sign of...

Read more