Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Erdogan to rid Turkish institutions of ‘separatist cancer’ after coup attempt

Read more

ENCORE!

The best of summer music festivals in France

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Going for gold: French athletes train for Rio Olympics

Read more

#TECH 24

Digital beauty

Read more

FOCUS

Women doctors in Pakistan challenge the status quo

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Trump hopes to reset America's trade relations

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Donald Trump's speech was just another scam'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Cazeneuve at the heart of Nice security controversy

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

South Africa: Prosecutors seek longer sentence for Oscar Pistorius

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. And you can watch it online as early as Friday.

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

2016-07-08 history

Video: The trial of Chad's ex-dictator Habré, an inconvenient ally

In May, former Chadian president Hissène Habré, who ruled his country with an iron fist between 1982 and 1990, was sentenced to life in prison for "crimes against humanity,...

Read more

2016-07-01 agriculture

Video: FRANCE 24 speaks to French farmers in crisis

France is the EU's largest agricultural producer, but its farmers are faced with administrative constraints, falling sales prices and debt. Many are pushed into depression and...

Read more

2016-06-23 World War I

World War I: When northern France was on German time

During World War I, thirteen of France's regional departments were under German occupation. For four years, two million French citizens took their orders from Berlin. No more...

Read more

2016-06-17 USA

Video: American conservatives strike back

Some southern US lawmakers have launched a legislative offensive to protect the "religious freedom" they believe is under threat. In Mississippi, homosexuals can now be denied...

Read more

2016-06-09 Iran

Video: A year of change for Iran since nuclear accord

It’s now been a year since Iran struck its historic nuclear accord with six world powers under which Tehran vowed to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of...

Read more