April 18, 2011
Rebels flee key city – ask ‘Did NATO take Saturday and Sunday off?’
Libyan rebels are fleeing the strategic town of Adjdabiya Gaddafi’s forces are shelling the town indiscriminately. The New York Times:
Scores of rebel pickups and other vehicles could be seen leaving the eastern approaches of Ajdabiya, and explosions could be heard in the city. They were headed toward the rebel capital, Benghazi, about 100 miles north.Their flight seemed to end a rebel push that they said had taken them to the outskirts of the oil-refinery town of Brega, about 50 miles farther west of Ajdabiya, but some rebels did remain at positions in Ajdabiya to try to prevent it from falling to forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
Many of the fighters in the vehicles criticized NATO as failing to give them enough support and also said that they had insufficient weapons to match those of government forces.
In Benghazi, a spokesman for the rebels, Mustafa Gheriani, also expressed frustration with NATO airstrikes. “Maybe NATO took off Saturday and Sunday,” he said, adding that the rebels were unaware of any airstrikes by the alliance in the past two days.
“Where are the NATO forces?” asked Absalam Hamid, who identified himself as a rebel captain. “We don’t know why they didn’t bomb them.”
With British PM David Cameron reiterating NATO’s decision not to employ ground forces, it’s very difficult to see how this is going to end well for the alliance – and the rebels.