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Heavy clashes erupt in western Libya

Press TV [1]
July 16, 2011

Heavy clashes between revolutionary forces and forces loyal to Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi have erupted in the town of Bir Ghanam in Libya’s Western Mountains.

The Revolutionary forces in Bir Ayad, situated 15 kilometers (9 miles) south of Bir Ghanam, said Gaddafi loyalists were sending a column of reinforcement to Bir Ghanam to take on opposition forces, who hold the high ground on the outskirts of the town, Reuters reported.

Revolutionary forces in Libya’s Western Mountains have made steady progress in recent weeks. It is said that they are advancing toward the town of Gharyan after they managed to repel attacks by Gaddafi forces.

Meanwhile, revolutionary forces are trying to retake the city of Brega. They have reportedly been able to breach the town’s defenses.

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Brega has changed hands multiple times during Libya’s war. The town’s vast oil refinery and storage facilities could provide fuel and a much-needed income stream to the revolutionaries.

Libya has been the scene of intense fighting between revolutionaries and forces loyal to Gaddafi since mid-February that has left hundreds dead and thousands injured.

The Libyan capital, Tripoli, and some western provinces remain under Gaddafi’s control while the revolutionaries hold Benghazi, most of the east, and several western cities.

NATO has recently intensified its attacks on Libya, ostensibly to increase pressure on beleaguered Gaddafi.