Rebels encroach, but Libya capital seems unruffled

By REUTERS
August 16, 2011 05:10

 
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TRIPOLI - Rebels may have fought their way into Zawiyah, a strategic city a half hour's drive from the Libyan capital.




Months of military stalemate appeared to come to an abrupt end in recent days, as rebels seeking to end Gaddafi's 41-year-rule said they reached the center of Zawiyah, 50 km west of Tripoli, and captured a town to Tripoli's south.




While government officials downplayed the developments, and promised to reverse any gains rebels may have made, Gaddafi's power base in Tripoli is now encircled. Yet few signs were visible in central Tripoli on Monday of apprehension.




There was no mass exit from the city or rush to stockpile goods in case of a long siege, a sign perhaps of the fact that many residents have been bracing for the worst since the conflict erupted in February - or that residents of a surrounded city have few places to go.


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