Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Ireland's missing babies casting light on a dark history...

Read more

WEB NEWS

World Cup 2014: Germany-Brazil inspires the Web

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Boutros-Ghali: 'I wanted to reform the UN'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

57 000 little problems

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Sarkozy 'threat'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Budget challenge for India's new government

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Israeli strikes on Gaza as seen on social media

Read more

  • Germany asks US intelligence station chief to leave country

    Read more

  • Video: Muslims in China confront obstacles to Ramadan fasting

    Read more

  • Tour de France passes WWI Chemin des Dames battlefield

    Read more

  • French companies will have to accept anonymous CVs

    Read more

  • Israel steps up airstrikes as diplomacy gets under way

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

  • Froome crashes out of Tour de France

    Read more

  • South Sudan independence heroes ‘have lost their way’

    Read more

  • 100 years on, the Tour de France returns to the Western Front

    Read more

  • Dozens of blindfolded bodies found south of Baghdad

    Read more

  • Both candidates say they won Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Exiled Syrian opposition elects new president

    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

Comments

COMMENT(S)