Rebels make western advances on Tripoli road | Pakistan Today

Rebels make western advances on Tripoli road

Libyan rebels captured two western villages on the road to Tripoli on Wednesday, as NATO insisted it could complete its mission without putting soldiers on the ground against strongman Moamer Gaddafi.
The Western military alliance which has carried out 10 weeks of air strikes against Gaddafi’s forces can see out its mission without ground troops, its operations commander said in a briefing on an Italian aircraft carrier. Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard also said that the military situation in western Libya, where there has been an upsurge in fighting between regime loyalists and rebel forces, was developing “very positively.”
“I do believe we can complete the mission without bringing in ground troops,” the Canadian general told reporters off Libyan shores on the Garibaldi. “We are receiving adequate assets to complete the mission and carry out our mandate.” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague later on Wednesday for talks on the operation. Senior military officials from Britain and France, key players in the NATO campaign, have expressed concerns about how to maintain the NATO operation, which has been extended for a second three-month period from June 27. Anti-Gaddafi rebels, meanwhile, seized two villages as they sought control of a key junction connecting the towns of Yefren and Zintan, west of Tripoli, an AFP correspondent reported. Rebels were seen patrolling the streets of Zawit Bagoul, 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) from Zintan. Pro-Gaddafi positions on the outskirts of Zawit Bagoul were deserted and loyalists left behind clothes, shoes and ammunition, the correspondent said. The rebels later also moved into Lawania, about seven kilometres away.
In its latest operational update, NATO said it struck several targets including a truck-mounted gun near Yefren on Tuesday. Rasmussen’s talks in London come after the rebels won more diplomatic recognition and seized Al-Rayayna village, east of the heavily fought-over hilltown of Zintan. Cameron insisted ahead of the talks that Britain could sustain its Libya operation long-term, after Britain’s navy chief warned of tough choices if the campaign lasts more than six months. The premier said he had met First Sea Lord Admiral Mark Stanhope, the head of the Royal Navy, following his comments.
“I had a meeting with the first sea lord yesterday and he agreed that we can sustain this mission for as long as we need to,” he said. “Time is on our side. We have got NATO, the United Nations, the Arab League. We have right on our side.”

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