- Title: LIBYA: Rebels retake control of major oil refineries in the East
- Date: 29th March 2011
- Summary: ON THE ROAD TO RAS LANUF, LIBYA (MARCH 28, 2011) (REUTERS) RAS LANUF REFINERY FROM AFAR SMOKE COMING OUT OF REFINERY CHIMNEY BURNED OUT VEHICLE ON SIDE OF ROAD MORE OF REFINERY DESTROYED STRUCTURE AND VEHICLES ON SIDE OF ROAD DESTROYED BUILDING CAR DRIVING ON THE ROAD PEOPLE WITH PICK UP TRUCK ON SIDE OF THE ROAD
- Embargoed: 13th April 2011 13:00
- Location: Libya
- Country: Libya
- Topics: War / Fighting
- Reuters ID: LVA9OX51KEQH02O5JVEUOMC01MOO
- Story Text: The road just outside of Ras Lanuf, 660 km (410 miles) east of the capital Tripoli, was deserted on Monday (March 28) after rebel fighters were reported to have headed off from there along the western coast to reverse earlier losses.
The rebels are now back in control of the main oil terminals in the east -- Es Sider, Ras Lanuf, Brega, Zueitina and Tobruk -- while Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi appears to be retrenching in the west. His forces fought rebels on Sunday (March 27) in the centre of Misrata, Libya's third city.
The five-week insurgency is going back and forth: a spokesman in Benghazi said rebels based in east Libya had captured Sirte on Monday, but a Reuters correspondent in the city said there was no sign that rebel forces were in control.
Rebel fighters were reported to have been lining up for petrol at a fuel station in Ras Lanuf earlier before their westerly push.
Contradicting the rebel claim to have a captured Sirte, an important military base about 450 km (280 miles) east of the capital Tripoli, Reuters correspondent Michael Georgy reported from the city that the situation was normal. He had seen some police and military, but no signs of any fighting.
The advance by the poorly armed and uncoordinated force of volunteer rebels suggested that Western air strikes were shifting the battlefield dynamics dramatically, in the east at least.
The Western-led military intervention began on March 19 under a United Nations mandate to protect civilians from Gaddafi's forces as the veteran leader fights an uprising against his 41-year rule.
Since the outset, the mission has faced questions from critics about its scope and aims, including the extent to which it will actively back the rebel side and whether it might target Gaddafi himself.
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