Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Media accused of pro-protester bias in Ferguson

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackiling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackiling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment

Read more

FOCUS

Republicans block Obama's bid to hike minimum wage

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users take on 'Ice Bucket Challenge' to fight ALS

Read more

ENCORE!

From Paris's Liberation to 'arresting' art in Avignon

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Ferguson riots: Pressure mounts on Obama

Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Reporter’s IS captors taunted family, asked for €100m ransom

    Read more

  • Two US Ebola patients leave hospital ‘virus-free’

    Read more

  • Hollande is ‘nobody’s president’ says former French minister

    Read more

  • Turkey’s Erdogan names foreign minister Davutoglu as next PM

    Read more

  • US reaches historic $16.7bn settlement with Bank of America

    Read more

  • Special report: Supplying Ukraine’s soldiers on the front line

    Read more

  • US forces tried to rescue slain reporter from IS captors

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms

    Read more

  • Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Former Irish PM Albert Reynolds dies at 81

    Read more

  • Former Femen activist detained after fighting veiled woman

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    Read more

  • Brazil’s Silva launches bid after Campos plane crash death

    Read more

Middle east

Gridlock, fighting continue at strategic base

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2011-07-26

South of Tripoli, in the hamlet of Goualich, Libyan rebels fought off a Sunday counter-offensive from the Libyan army. FRANCE 24 special envoys reported from the ground.

After several days of calm near the hamlet of Goualich, roughly one-hundred kilometers south of Tripoli, the fighting started again Sunday between rebels and forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi. This time, the soldiers backing the Libyan regime struck first.

The casualty toll after a day of clashes speaks to the inability of each side to get a leg up on the other: two minor injuries for the rebels and no ground gained by anyone.

On Saturday, the rebels had already managed to fight off a counter-offensive from pro-regime forces, thus maintaining the status quo.

A door to Tripoli

Goualich is a much-coveted strategic spot in the conflict, having been passed back and forth between rebel and pro-regime hands over the last several months. For the rebels, the hamlet makes for a good base camp in their progression toward the capital.

For the pro-Gaddafi forces, too, Goualich is a bastion that must be defended. While our special envoys were reporting from the ground on Sunday, pro-Gaddafi forces were in the midst of the counter-offensive they had launched an hour earlier. They started out on foot before using heavy artillery.

“Today, they started advancing toward us, dressed in civilian clothes and carrying green flags,” one Libyan rebel told FRANCE 24. “But these are soldiers, I’m sure of it. We knew it was a trap, so we started to shoot and they fled.”

A correspondent from Agence France-Presse on the ground reported having spoken to several witnesses who said the pro-Gaddafi forces had indeed sent civilians in before the attack in order to convince the rebels to surrender.

Tanks as a last resort

The clashes lasted all day Sunday, providing no clear advantage to either side. AFP correspondents reported hearing the sounds of bombings and heavy artillery fire for three hours, which finally petered out around 7:30 pm local time.

By the end of the day, it was clear to the rebels that the status quo would be protected for at least one more day. Responding to one rebel who asked if it was going to be possible to gain ground on pro-Gaddafi forces, another responded: “No chance. We’ll have to come back tomorrow with our tanks.”

The rebels know that in certain situations, gridlock is inevitable – and that the road to Tripoli remains long.
 

Date created : 2011-07-25

COMMENT(S)