Libyan Rebels Say They've Reached Oil Town, Again

by
Joon
AJDABIYA, Libya – Libya's rebel forces have advanced once again to the strategic oil town of Brega thanks to four days of airstrikes by NATO, a rebel officer said Saturday.

Col. Hamid Hassy said that following scattered clashes with government forces, the rebels had reached the outskirts of the key oil facility of Brega, a town that has already changed hands half a dozen times since fighting began in early March.

He added that the rebels will bring engineers to repair any damage to the refinery and oil facilities there.

For four days, rebel forces have maintained their positions around the city of Ajdabiya, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) away, allowing airstrikes to weaken government forces, said Hassy.

The NATO-led campaign of airstrikes have kept rebels from being outright defeated on the battlefield by the better trained and equipped government forces, but until now it has not been enough to completely turn the tide.

At a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin, the United States and its allies put up a united front on the goals of the alliance's stalemated military mission in Libya but failed to resolve behind-the-scenes squabbling over how to achieve them.

NATO members agreed on paper that Gadhafi had to go to end the crisis, they also made clear that they would not be the ones to oust him.
AFP