Gadhafi Forces Clear the Way to Benghazi

Troops take Ajdabiya, last town before rebel capital
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2011 7:54 AM CDT
Libya Protests: Moammar Gadhafi's Forces Take Ajdabiya, Last Town Before Rebel Capital of Benghazi
Libyans fleeing Ajdabiya arrive in the coastal city of Benghazi on March 15, 2011.   (Getty Images)

Just one day after Moammar Gadhafi’s forces reportedly took back the Libyan rebels’ last western stronghold, they seized another key town: Ajdabiya, the last town between Gadhafi’s forces and the rebel capital of Benghazi. Fighter jets bombed the town yesterday, leaving the city “in ruins,” says one rebel leader. Gadhafi’s troops then invaded and overwhelmed the opposition. Even as rebels fled Ajdabiya for Benghazi, many others were fleeing Benghazi toward Egypt—and Gadhafi loyalists closed in on Libya’s third-largest city, Misurata.

Now that Gadhafi has Ajdabiya, a desert highway could allow his troops to circle the entire rebel-controlled area, the Wall Street Journal reports. As the tide appears to be turning in Gadhafi’s favor, some have raised concerns that any help from the US and Europe for the opposition, such as a no-fly zone, may come too late. The UN Security Council is scheduled to discuss the issue today. Meanwhile, a humanitarian crisis is brewing as some Libyans flee—and those who don’t face possible Gadhafi retribution. (More Libya stories.)

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