March 10th, 2011
07:00 PM ET

Libyan government forces retake Zawiya

CNN Wire Staff

Ras Lanuf, Libya (CNN) - Libyan government soldiers made headway Thursday against rebel forces, retaking the city of Zawiya, just west of the capital city of Tripoli, after a week of attacks.

ITV News' Bill Neely said he was the first reporter to gain access to the city center, which was firmly in control of the government. Zawiya's main Martyrs' Square was littered with the bombed-out, scorched carcasses of army tanks and other military vehicles. Neely said he counted more than 20 freshly dug graves.

He said doctors had told him that scores of civilians were wounded or killed; they called the onslaught a massacre.

Workers were sweeping up the evidence as Gadhafi supporters chanted slogans and waved green flags. "Today Zawiya, tomorrow Benghazi," Neely said one man told him in a reference to Libya's main rebel-held city in the east.

The city itself, once home to 250,000 residents, appeared largely empty. Shops were closed and houses appeared empty, Neely said.

Pro-government forces waved green flags in support of leader Gadhafi.

State-run television showed off weapons and ammunition that it said had been left behind by the rebels, whom the reporter referred to as "terrorists, dogs and traitors," Neely said.

Payback appears to have begun, said one man, who told ITV that government forces were carrying out house-to-house searches. "They start to arrest people, normal people," he said. "Some of them I know personally; they have nothing to do with what's happening."

Libya said it had also taken control of the key oil port of Ras Lanuf from opposition forces, as international diplomats and leaders maneuvered to counter and undermine the tenacious regime of embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Battles also raged in and around Ras Lanuf and many other cities, with the regime using planes and heavy artillery in its effort to reclaim areas that had been taken by the opposition.

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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Van Khieu

    To President Obama and NATO nations Hesd of state.

    The Libyan people need our help
    We should nad must help them.
    The time is always right to do the right things.
    The only necessary thing for evil to triumphe is for good men to do nothing but talk.

    March 11, 2011 at 12:21 am |
  2. paul kremer

    what would the soviat union would done if they would calld to do somthing about cadhafi the hitler of the arab world???????????

    March 10, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  3. Larry

    It's time for the Rebels to back down and let them have it. They have made their point in the strongest way. The government really understands what can happen now and will make attempts to negotiate on a more level ground. If the U.N. and NATO isn't going to support them there isn't much else they can do. Let it be known that any reprisals against any of the Rebel force members may rekindle another rebellion.

    March 10, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
  4. Jeff Linnert

    This is another go-round of the Hungarian Revolution. We set them up for being slaughtered by the Soviet tanks. Then we set up the Iraqi people after Gulf War I, encouraging them to revolt, then leaving them hanging. Now we set up the Libyans, and the result is what we see.

    'Spose a stable regime, with oil, is better than a free, democratic state, deciding their own future.

    What makes me sick is the setup. Why not jut leave them alone in their miserable lives, and not fill them with hope, only to lead them to a certain slaughter.

    March 10, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
  5. bill

    Anderson, it seems to me that since Barack Obama can't even close Guantanamo, he is unlikey to close down Gaddafi.
    Better this lame duck openly support the Gaddafi regime then the rebels may stand a fighting chance.

    March 10, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
  6. Frank Restrepo

    Stay out of Lybia. We can't afford a third military conflict. Why don't you ask us what we want. We want you to balance the budget, reduce the deficit, and create jobs. I vote for no help for Lybia.

    March 10, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  7. colin mcguinness

    Anderson you have a voice for the people and you have a voice with those in power you must push for U.N involvement in Libya. People listen to you and believe what you say so do what is right and use your voice. the fight is being lost right now and people who have the power and have the responsibility to act to help the Libyan people being killed under the name of drug-induced al-qaedan fighters. something must be done before the flame goes out.
    thank you

    March 10, 2011 at 7:41 pm |