October 23, 2011
As the sun rose over the shell of Sirte on Thursday, Ben Farmer, the only British newspaper journalist left in the city, found it was immediately apparent that something had changed.
Utterly ravaged by months of bombardments, Sirte was a skeleton of a city – a place without food, water or light; a city without citizens. Its streets were turned into rivers by burst pipes, as fighters battled through waist-high swathes of mud brown water, street by bloody street.
But as the sun rose over the shell of Sirte on Thursday, it was immediately apparent that something had changed.
I had arrived at the rebel position in the western suburb of Zafran in anticipation of another massed assault into District Two – the final pocket where Gaddafi loyalists had been holding out. Rebels from Misurata had told me the day before to be ready early to witness a home-made armoured battering ram, and their few tanks spearhead what they boasted would be a decisive thrust into the remaining bastion of defenders.
Little did we know, at that point, that Gaddafi had also decided that it was time for the endgame.
The embattled leader had been forced to retreat to an area 1000 yards by 500 yards, and was desperately moving from house to house, trying to evade capture.
This article was posted: Sunday, October 23, 2011 at 5:56 am