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Gaddafi forces push back rebel advance

Troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have intensified their attack on anti-government rebels, stalling their westward advance toward Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte and forcing them to retreat from key towns they had previously captured.

  • Troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi hammered anti-regime rebels with rockets and tanks, halting their westward push on Tuesday. By the afternoon, the rebels were forced to retreat to the outskirts of Bin Jawad after a prolonged battle with Gaddafi loyalists.
  • According to FRANCE 24 reporter Philip Crowther in rebel-held Ajdabiyah, residents are also fleeing the key oil port of Ras Lanuf.
  • France has sent a special envoy to the rebel-held city of Benghazi to liaise with the interim administration, a diplomatic source told Reuters on Tuesday.
  • Leaders from more than 35 governments and NGOs meeting in London have agreed to set up a contact group to provide "political direction" to a post-Gaddafi Libya in coordination with the UN, African Union, Arab League and EU.
  • In a nationally televised speech aimed at lawmakers and American citizens who have questioned US military involvement in Libya, US President Barack Obama defended America’s role as a world leader but ruled out regime change by force.
  • Syria’s cabinet resigned after nearly two weeks of anti-government protests, with a new one expected to be formed within 24 hours.

Scroll down for a recap of Tuesday's events in Libya and Syria.

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