Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

The Best of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival

Read more

ENCORE!

Cannes 2018: and the Palme d’or goes to....

Read more

ENCORE!

Cannes 2018: Lebanese film 'Capharnaum' wows critics

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo: vaccinations to start on Sunday

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

The Royal wedding: Pomp & controversy

Read more

ENCORE!

Cannes 2018: John Travolta brings the mob to the red carpet

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Summit or No Summit: North Korea angry over military drill

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Could thawing permafrost unleash long-gone deadly viruses?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

French and noble in 2018: What remains of France's aristocracy?

Read more

REPORTERS

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

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

2018-05-18 Middle East

Beyond the conflict: Reporter's notebook in modern-day Israel

Israel regularly makes headlines, but there is more to the country than the conflict with the Palestinians. FRANCE 24 reports from a young but highly developed nation, a holy...

Read more

2018-05-11 Middle East

Video: Stateless in Palestine

What does life in the West Bank look like under Israeli occupation? Our reporters travelled to Area C, to meet the women and men who live on lands coveted by Israeli settlers....

Read more

2018-04-27 France

Video: The Foreign Legion, another French exception

Shrouded in mystery and prestige, the French Foreign Legion is just as feared by its enemies as it is envied by its allies. The legionnaires come from across the world, prepared...

Read more

2018-04-20 Africa

Africa’s donkeys slaughtered for Chinese ‘miracle elixir’

Every year, China slaughters millions of donkeys to make Ejiao, a traditional medicine hailed as a ‘miracle elixir’ which is used to treat various ailments. As China’s donkey...

Read more

2018-04-13 Americas

From Brazil to Canada: the new odyssey for African migrants

Canada has become the new El Dorado for many African migrants, who have seen Europe and the United States close their borders. But they face a dangerous journey across South and...

Read more