Aug 2, 2011
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s camp has vowed to push on with its war against rebels whether or not NATO stops its bombing campaign, leaving little room for diplomacy to end the five-month conflict.
The rebels and their Western backers kept up the pressure on the veteran leader as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began, with NATO bombing military targets and dropping leaflets over the capital calling on loyalists to give up.
The rebels, who have seized about half the country but frequently lose ground to counter-attacks by better armed and trained Gaddafi forces and remain dogged by their own internal divisions, consolidated gains around Zlitan, a key town 160 km (100 miles) east of Tripoli.
A war that some thought might be over in weeks once NATO forces, backed by a United Nations mandate to protect civilians, started to bomb Gaddafi’s military installations in March is instead dragging on into the hot summer and a month of fasting.