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Libyan rebels push for full control of Zawiyah

As Libya’s rebel fighters advance on Tripoli they continue to battle pockets of resistance in the city of Zawiyah, home to the last functioning oil refinery in the country and 43 kilometres from the capital. Watch FRANCE 24's exclusive report.

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IMAGES: Battle for Zawiyah

Rebel fighters on Friday claimed they had taken control of the oil refinery in Zawiyah, 48 km to the west of Libyan capital Tripoli.

It is the last functioning refinery in the country and supplies most of the precious petrol to Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.

On Thursday, FRANCE 24’s team of reporters in Zawiyah accompanied a group of fighters as they fought for control of the oil refinery.

In the past few weeks, rebels have made stunning advances on Tripoli, vowing to topple Gaddafi’s regime by the end of Ramadan later this month.

A rebel victory in Zawiyah could leave Gaddafi nearly cornered in his increasingly isolated stronghold of Tripoli. But for the moment, the fight for complete control of the strategic town is far from over.

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Rebel fighters are still trying to root out Gaddafi’s sharpshooters from key locations across the city, taking the fight one building at a time.

Their leader, a man in his early thirties sporting a black beard and carrying the ubiquitous AK-47 assault rifle, points out of the window of a building where the government’s green flag can still be clearly seen flying in the distance.

His men take pot shots – although he admits that it will likely draw the sniper’s fire.

Rebels here are optimistic. Driving around the town, the rebel leader hears the sound of large explosions.

“You hear that sound? I like that sound,” he said. “The bombs of glory.”

 

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