Gadhafi Forces Retake Key City of Zawiya

Much of City in Ruins After Days of Fighting

Following up on reports that the key western Libyan city of Zawiya changed hands several times yesterday, media outlets are now confirming that the Gadhafi regime has successfully retaken the center of the city, chasing the rebels out.

The city is seen as hugely important strategically, as it lies just 30 miles outside of the regime’s capital city of Tripoli, and would either be the rebels’ staging ground for attacking the capital or a symbol of the regime’s counter-offensive having secured, for now, the western part of Libya.

But the city’s value as a city remains very much in question after days of shelling and fighting, and reports from the scene describe massive damage, with much of the city devastated and wreckage everywhere.

The rebels seized control over Zawiya on February 24, comparatively early into the uprising, but the city was quickly sieged by the regime, and blockaded for awhile. Since the city changed hands so many times yesterday one cannot discount the possibility of the rebels retaking Zawiya, but for now the regime appears to clearly have the upper hand in the west.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of