Civilians join Gaddafi fighters in Sirte

2011-09-17 22:22

Sirte - Libyan fighters battled street by street for control of Muammar's Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte for the third day on Saturday, taking sniper, assault rifle and rocket fire from his loyalists perched on the city's rooftops.

Orange flashes of gunfire mixed with dust and black smoke over the sand-coloured buildings of the seaside city as scores of machinegun and rocket launcher-mounted pick-ups trucks snaked through its streets.

Ambulances rushed away from the battle bearing wounded fighters west as the pro-Gaddafi men defended their ground.

Ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters said it was unclear how many Gaddafi loyalists were in the city but several suggested that some of Sirte's civilian residents had started joining the fight on the ousted leader's side.

"There have been heavy clashes since this morning," NTC fighter, Mahmoud Terbelu, said as he stood in the middle of a large roundabout littered with bullet casings.

"There has been some resistance from civilians, volunteers. They're above the buildings with Kalashnikovs, anti-aircraft guns, rockets and other weapons," he said.

A green and beige building stood at the roundabout scarred by rocket fire in the last two days of fighting.

Dozens of vehicles circled the town, fighters standing with rifles ready or drinking juice in the midday heat.

NTC soldiers said they had been battling for the city on three fronts - from the west, the south and the east entrances - but had been advancing slowly.

"There's been fighting by the sea and in the city," said one fighter who did not give his name. "We are gathering and then advancing. We are retaking it step by step."

Free Libya

Down the road from the roundabout, fighters gathered and traded fire with an unseen gunman, taking cover behind breeze block walls and behind pickups.

A gated compound of seaside villas stood on the opposite side of the road, which rebels said were guesthouses where diplomats and other visitors to the city had stayed.

The Mediterranean glistened behind them.

A black vehicle rolled down the road from the direction of the city, a fighter in army fatigues slumped over the anti-aircraft machine-gun mounted on the back.

Blood poured down his arms and from his torso onto ammunition cartridges.

Men shouted "God is greatest" as he was loaded into the back of a field ambulance.

His comrade, wearing sunglasses and a black and white scarf, washed the blood from his hands using a water bottle.

Most of the NTC fighters come from the port city of Misrata and bear a special grudge against Gaddafi after a months-long siege devastated large parts of that city.

They spray-painted "Free Libya" and the names of their brigades over the once ubiquitous posters that displayed Gaddafi slogans and welcomed foreign diplomats to the city.

Many fighters said sniper fire still posed a challenge to the advance as well as the presence of civilians.

Gaddafi spokesperson, Moussa Ibrahim, told Reuters on Saturday that Nato airstrikes on Sirte had killed 357 civilians overnight - an allegation Nato said may be unfounded.

"We don't want to use them," one NTC fighters told Reuters, gesturing towards two tanks

As dusk set in, the NTC fighters began to pull back to their bases on the outskirts of the city, satisfied with the progress they had made on Saturday, and vowing to be back tomorrow.

  • Law01 - 2011-09-17 22:50

    Iraq & Libya were the most prosperous of nations, go do your research, they were not colonised. The US run by Zionists pull the strings to puppets Obama, Bush etc. They could not see these thriving nations, though Saddam & Gaddafi did oppress minorities but which nation does not oppress a sector of its population, and had to bring them down at the expense of Millions of lives including civillians, soldiers on both sides, and there was no justicfication in both cases. All part of the zionists plot to rule the World, gaining control of key Natural resources. beware people, read the Book " Confessions of an economic Hitman" by John Perkins and go to, this is riveting stuff,better than a Hollywood Movie, sadly it is reality!!!

      Ryan - 2011-09-18 00:35

      I cant believe you are defending Gaddafi. he didn't just oppress minorities, he oppressed everyone !!! NO-ONE had a vote. there was no democracy, Gaddafi would not allow elections. and any dissent was squashed, often by a gun. now, whether or not the UN and NATO had hidden agendas in supporting the rebels get rid of Gaddafi, is besides the point. because we can all agree that its better that Gaddafi is gone, for all the reasons I listed, and more !!! and without the UN's help the rebels would never have succeeded in getting rid of him.

      Ryan - 2011-09-18 00:39

      and millions did not die. sounds like you spewing propaganda. about 10 000 lives have been lost in Libya. total lives lost in Iraq is about 200 000 including civilians and soldiers.

      slg - 2011-09-18 01:43

      Pure delusion, nothing else.

      JasunX - 2011-09-18 05:20

      @Law01 - Thumbs up buddy. @Ryan - He oppressed everyone? According to...who? CNN? BBC? The Internet? US Propaganda? Open your eyes your eyes you sheep. @slg - At least delusion, rather than belief in mainstream media.

      malose - 2011-09-18 05:37

      Libyan people cried out to the outside world for help when Gadaffi was at the height of his madness. Nobody listened. The Arab League entered the fray and asked the world to do something about Gadaffi's madness. The UN took over and declared a no fly zone, voted in for by countries like SA. Then NATO got decisive.And ha,Gadaffi and his band of rouges took to the hills - where they belong. This is a my recollection of what happened in Libya.

      slg - 2011-09-18 06:56

      Jasun, you'd rather be delusional? At least you're being honest, I suppose, and you have what you want: you're delusional. :)

      Anton - 2011-09-18 07:46

      Law01---Lawyer for Human Rights, Justice and Peace (and of course willing to take any side, for the right cash!!) ( Sorry I overslept, but let me quickly give my opinion, before Marco wakes up, and gives us his 173 000 word comment ) Lawyer, I know you are very busy, but I believe you overlooked a minor fact; Before February 2011, the gaddafies were not doing much business with, Moscow, Beijing, Teheran, Havana, Caracas, Kinshasa, BUT it was with all these "Zionist run" countries, like Great Britain , France, Italy, because, (and I know it takes two to tango)BUT, THAT'S WHERE they could make hundreds and hundreds of millions US dollars, FOR THEMSELVES It was also in these capitals that these lovely gaddafi kids, lived the lives of BILLIONAIRES, while daddy did his tent stunt at home!!!! It was also not on a creepy Syrian state TV , that the gaddafies loved to appear, but it was on those "Zionist propaganda" channels like CNN, BBC and SKY , where they were prepared to share with us "the good life" Now , you can now carry on confusing us with all useless crap, but you should really look at what I just mentioned, and than maybe you might understand a little of what is going on. I rest my case!!!!!

      Ryan - 2011-09-18 11:23

      @ JasunX ... if you can name ANY people in Libya that were entitled to vote in elections in Libya, then maybe not everyone was oppressed. BUT YOU CANT CAN YOU !!!! let me help you, there were no elections in Libya for 40 years. no-one could vote. that means everyone was oppressed. got it ?

      Ryan - 2011-09-18 12:07

      @ Jasux .... I like how you poo poo the BBC, CNN, the internet, Al Jazeerah etc as sources of information. pray tell where you get your info from ? lol. I suppose you live in Libya. lol

  • IMPERADOR - 2011-09-18 00:03

    The only countries that accept any currency for their oil where Iraq, Libia and Iran all the other countries from OPEP only accept petro-dollars, Iraq was destroyed, Libia is gone be destroyed and Iran they don´t think about it because of their nuclear power, that´s the world we got.

      slg - 2011-09-18 01:44

      Your dumb emperor is gone, and Libya is free. The best is yet to come for Libyans.

      Valis - 2011-09-18 02:31

      Like the imposition of Sharia law, sig?

      JasunX - 2011-09-18 05:21

      @slg - Don't say, we never warned you - you and me my friend, we shall meet.

      slg - 2011-09-18 06:56

      Jasun, what do you haven mind?

      slg - 2011-09-18 07:14

      Valis, Libya is heading towards democracy Libyan style. I think you should pay closer attention to the voices of the people driving the changes taking place. Tune into them. They're inspiring. The new generation.

      Anton - 2011-09-18 08:08

      Editor, Re comment made by JasonX at 05.21 Believe that most of us, anti gaddafi, but also pro gaddafi don't appreciate a threatening comment like this!!!!!!!

      JasunX - 2011-09-18 21:04

      @Anton - I was referring to the afterlife. You "people" like to extract words that really don't exist. This is the basis of this article, and the basis of my retort against your comment.

      slg - 2011-09-18 21:54

      Actually Jasun, you have a responsibility to communicate clearly.

  • tee-hee-hee - 2011-09-18 00:39

    This is bull bet its a pre cover-up for NATO/rebels to justify a massacre of women and children.

      slg - 2011-09-18 01:46

      I bet you're trying desperately to find anything to distract yourself from what is really happening: the liberation of Libya from 42 year of brutal, egocentric dictatorial rule.

      JasunX - 2011-09-18 05:23

      @slg - I bet you love the weather channel too - when that weather man tells you to jump in a lake, not only do you proceed to do so, you first ask, How High? deep? this case.

      slg - 2011-09-18 07:13


      Ryan - 2011-09-18 11:57

      TeeHee, are you suggesting that the rebels/NATO started a war for the hell of it, and not to get freedom from 40 years of authoritarian rule with no vote ??? is that your justification ?????

  • spiderman7 - 2011-09-18 07:15

    AT slg and Ryan, please do more research with regard to the topic at hand. it seems as if Law01 has and therefore those comments are valid. I come from the same school of thought,ask youself this simple question, if NATO was 'concerned' over the well being of the libyian people why do they have no regard for the people of Zimbabwe?

      Ryan - 2011-09-18 11:34

      you are missing the point. really wish i didnt have to explain, but let me do it. whether or not there is a hidden agenda with NATO helping the rebels, is besides the point. without NATO's help the rebels would have been slaughtered since Gaddafi's army and mercenaries were far better trained and had far better weaponary. so the point is that NATO helped the rebels get rid of a murderous despot that ruled his country undemocratically for 40 years after taking power in a coup. you can surely not be so blind as to not see that. and if NATO countries get something out of helping the rebels get freedom for the Libyan people, then good for them.

      Ryan - 2011-09-18 11:36

      and Spiderman, if I took over the South Africa today in a coup and I removed your freedom and right to vote, would you be ok with that ?

      slg - 2011-09-18 15:26

      Nato is a military alliance, not a political organization. It is in Libya on request of the Arab League and by direction of the United Nations, a body of 193 countries. So the real question os why the international community is allowing Mugabe to brutalize Zimbabweans. That's a valid question.

  • marco - 2011-09-18 09:25

    While the revolution against Gaddafi is over,the NTC has a much more difficult political task of putting together a stable government that's experimenting with Democracy.We all hope that the leaders who emerge from all this will be seriously concerned with improving the lives of Libyans rather than just enriching themselves or their "friends". Since the NTC relies heavily on NATO countries for its money,services and whatever else,it is very likely that the NTC will have to adopt all policies that NATO nations approves of.Can't really see it going any other way. You see Gaddafi financed the African Bank and the continent wide telecommunications system,which allowed African Nations to bypass western-controlled networks ie the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.And to be at their tender mercies when it came to borrowing money and paying back debt.No wonder Gaddafi said he wanted to be leader of a United States of Africa,cause he poured so many billions of Libyan funds into the African continent.Gaddafi at one time also wanted a new single currency for Africa which could be used instead of the US dollar or the Euro. Ellen Brown,an attorney and president of the Public Banking Institute,and also writer of the book "The Web of Debt" wrote this: "Gaddafi initiated a movement to refuse the dollar and the euro,and called on Arab and African nations to use a new currency instead,the GOLD DINAR. Gaddafi suggested establishing a united African continent,with its 200

  • marco - 2011-09-18 09:26

    million people using this single currency.During the past year,the idea was approved by many Arab countries and most African countries. The only opponents were the Republic of South Africa and the head of the League of Arab States.The initiative was viewed negatively by the USA and the European Union,with French president Nicolas Sarkozy calling Libya a threat to the financial security of mankind."-Sarkozy why am I not surprise!!! Anyway moving on.Amengeo wrote in an article in The Citizen of Tanzania how Gaddafi had been seen by African leaders overall including the big man himself:"While under sanctions by the West, the Africans unswervingly supported Gaddafi.Nelson Mandela(the big man himself)upon his release from apartheid’s prisons defied Western sanctions and went overland to visit and thank Colonel Gaddafi for his moral and financial support during the long struggle against apartheid.Other African leaders followed and regular visits with Gaddafi which defied the West and made the sanctions totally irrelevant.” Under Gaddafi's Rule Libyans got free medical treatment,free education where better students were supported to study abroad.Gaddafi also subsidized the price of cars,the average life expectancy of a Libyan in 2009 was 77 years one less than an American.Retail and wholesale trading operations were called "people's supermarkets" where Libyans could purchase whatever they needed at low prices.In the 1980's Libyans enjoyed much improved housing and education,

  • marco - 2011-09-18 09:26

    comprehensive social welfare services, and general standards of health that were among the highest in Africa.The most popular achievement of the Gaddafi regime is its Great Man-Made River (GMMR) project which brought water to the desert by building the largest and most expensive irrigation project in history, the $33 billion GMMR (Great Man-Made River) project.Even more than oil,water is crucial to life in Libya.The GMMR provides 70 percent of the population with water for drinking and irrigation, pumping it from Libya’s vast underground Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System in the south to populated coastal areas 4,000 kilometers to the north. NTC listen up. The West and NATO countries are committed to the “Washington consensus”,with its emphasis on privatization of public enterprises,elimination of subsidies so that prices are set by the free market, reduction of taxes and public services,sacred economic doctrines that Gaddafi did not accord with when he was in power.What about Libya's oil? Syed Rashid Husain, writing in Arab News, explains that:"Russian giant Gazprom,as well as China’s CNOOC and Sinopec were traditionally present in a dominant way before the outbreak of violence in the oil rich Libya.About 75 Chinese companies operated in Libya before the war,involving 36,000 staff in some 50 projects.”Both China and Russia abstained from voting on the UN resolution supporting military action against Gaddafi.

  • marco - 2011-09-18 09:27

    favour companies from countries which support the rebel movement over those from countries which did not.So it seems that companies from Italy,France,UK and the US will benefit from this removal of Gaddafi,while companies from China,Russia and Brazil will not.Certainly this is what it looks like from the Russian point of view. In an article from The Voice of Russia Kudashkina Edaterina wrote: “…it is now very clear that the war was for Libyan oil and in this sense we have to watch carefully because among the countries which suffered from this unprecedented use of force against the Libyan state is Russia which lost about $4 billion of possible contracts with Libya.” Removal of Gaddafi-The History between Africa and Europe: The period between 1881 and the start of World War I is described as the Scramble for Africa.During this time European imperial powers of Great Britain,France,Germany,Italy,Belgium,Spain,and Portugal, gained control of virtually all of Africa.By 1914 only 2 countries in Africa were not under European control ie Liberia and Ethiopia.In 1911,the Italians took control of Libya from the (Turkish) Ottoman Empire.Even though Libya was one of the last African regions to fall under European control,it was the first African colony to gain its independence from Europe in 1951. While the leaders of Western countries hated Gaddafi,we have seen that he was well regarded by the leaders of the newly independent African countries in much of the 20th century.

  • marco - 2011-09-18 09:27

    IS THIS A BATTLE BETWEEN ANGELS AND DEMONS?Syria being the lesser Evil than Libya? The Gulf Arabs have never been best loved by people of the other Arab countries.Which makes you wonder why French President Nicolas Sarkozy said "it's frustrating that we can't get a stronger resolution on Syria...that they weren't authorized to discuss private diplomatic talks aimed at halting the bloody violence which the United Nations estimates has seen 2200 people killed in Syria since mid-March". U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters at the Paris summit on Libya recently:"President Assad's brutality against unarmed citizens has outraged the region,the world and most importantly the Syrian people themselves...Syria must be allowed to move forward,those who have joined us in this call must now translate our rhetoric into concrete actions to escalate the pressure on Assad and those around him, including strong new sanctions targeting Syria's energy sector to deny the regime the revenues that fund its campaign of violence,". Why the reluctance among United Nations Security Council members to back a more assertive stance on Syria like they done in Libya?With Lebanon on the Security Council's Rotating Table and Qatar part of its General Assembly did anyone watching these events honestly believe that anything less than a manipulation by these countries would suit the Arab League?These two Arab League countries of Lebenon and Qatar were and still are very accommodating in

  • marco - 2011-09-18 09:28

    toppling Gaddafi's Libya,but dead silent on Assad's Syria.Many people in the West are focused only on what are obviously important and that is human rights issues in Libya,but then so should we be regarding Syria.Could NATO's intervention in Libya also be part of a new period of Western imperialism?In our previous century,major European powers fought each other twice for control of the world.WW1 and WW2.Now the world or international community are united under one and only one SUPER POWER-America,but we seem to have the same goals as before.Our Imperialism is always driven to expand into new areas.The same forces which broke Sudan in half are continuing the process of fragmenting Africa into even more manageable,weaker pieces.The idea of an Africa Unity or Union are to be repudiated as the dreams of madmen one might think.Africa is too rich in natural resources that the world needs for it to be allowed to control its own destiny.True independence and an African unity can not be tolerated. Is this removal of Gaddafi perhaps an opening salvo in a war to reclaim the continent for foreign interests?Is NATO's intervention in Libya an attempt to reverse the process of independence which has occurred since the end of WW II? Question though is why do the Gulf Arabs hate Gaddafi so much compared to Syria?First off Gaddafi criticised Arab countries for doing nothing while the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 and overthrew Saddam Hussein,the then Iraqi president.Gaddafi also

  • marco - 2011-09-18 09:28

    repeated his frequently made proposal that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict be settled by creating one democratic state where the two peoples live together,to be called Isratine.In a speech once,Gaddafi criticised Arab disunity and inaction on the region's multiple crises: "Where is the Arabs' dignity,their future,their very existence? Everything has disappeared...Our blood and our language may be one,but there is nothing that can unite us" he said. Arab leaders who were most critical of the United States’ intervention in the Middle East have united behind the military intervention in Libya.The apparent hypocrisy of repressive Arab leaders endorsing military action against a repressive Gaddafi did not escape many Arabs. "I see hypocrisy in everything the Arab leaders do,and I’m talking as a person of the Arab world," said Randa Habib,a political commentator in Jordan. "I don’t think the Arab League has any kind of legitimacy," said Muhammad al-Masry,a researcher at the Center for Strategic Studies in Amman,Jordan. In an article titled "The Lesser of Two Evils," in the Egyptian daily newspaper Shorouk,commentator Fahmy Howeidy said that the Western bombing on Libya,an Arab country,were "shocking and agonizing for us." Gaddafi denounced King Abdullah and Emir of Qatar "as a British product and American ally"...concluding by calling him a "liar", leaving a memory that surely made it easier for those leaders to endorse a full on military action.

      Ryan - 2011-09-18 11:41

      hey Marco, instead of just copy pasting tons of text, how about verbalize what your position is in your own words and then we can take it from there. Ive read very little of your stuff, but let me guess ... 1) you supported Gadaffi ... 2) in other words, you support dictators .. 3) you were against NATO supporting the rebels .. 4) in other words, you were happy that the rebels were massively outgunned (prior to NATO's help) by Gaddafi's army and mercenaries.

      Libertador - 2011-09-19 22:42

      Big up Marco, spread the message. This African knows why these western vampires are in Libya. They are doing what they have been doing for centuries, feeding on the blood, labour and resources of Africans.

      Goddok - 2011-09-22 18:26

      This is a person that knows what he is talking about.

  • Ryan - 2011-09-18 12:01

    It is quite amazing to me how many people on these forums support Gadaffi. now clearly these people are in the minority, but I still find it hard to believe that anyone would support a dictator that disallowed voting for 40 years after he took power in a coup. I think these people people would be better off living in a place like Myanmar, Cuba, Zim etc ... time to pack your bags people

      Goddok - 2011-09-22 18:31

      Ryan, I would rather stay in a country that "oppress" me for 40 years and give me all these benefits, than in a delusional democracy where I must suffer to survive from day to day

  • khoi007 - 2011-09-18 14:06

    the UN has a mandate to protect the the libyan civilians, hasnt it, so why dont they protect the civilians in Sirte which has now become under fire by the NTC rebels, or has their mandate change?

      Ryan - 2011-09-18 14:30

      why do you single out Sirte, why dont you say the same about the rebels going after all the other towns to liberate them from the Gaddafi loyalists. the rebels are trying to liberate Sirte from the Gaddafi loyalists and mercenaries. NATO has assisted the rebels by bombing some of the loyalists positions in Sirte. yes, NATO is not only helping to defend Libyan citizens from Gaddafi mercenaries and loyalists, but is assisting the rebels with firepower to defeat them. and the problem is ???

      Ryan - 2011-09-18 14:32

      tell me how else you would have liked the UN to protect the civilians in Sirte and elsewhere. please go into detail.

      slg - 2011-09-18 15:28

      They are protecting Libyans civilians wherever they are and as best they can.

      slg - 2011-09-18 15:30

      They are not protecting Gadhafi sympathizers who are brutalizing Libyans. It is the NTC's responsibility to deal with these people who are concentrated in Sirte.

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