Capturing Southern Town, Libya Rebels Declare Tripoli ‘Encircled’

NATO Says Hold on Zawiya Tenuous

Fresh off of reports that they had secured the town of Zawiya, not far from Libya’s capital of Tripoli, the rebel fighters have claimed another gain in the southern town on Garyan. Since both are on roads leading to Tripoli, the rebels declared the city “encircled.”

Regime forces confirmed that rebels were in Garyan, but insisted that it was a relatively small number and that they would soon be driven out. NATO, likewise, termed the rebel’s hold on Zawiya tenuous, at best.

Which has been the story of this civil war. One side or the other seems able to take over periphery towns of some strategic value from their opponent, but they never seem able to hold it for more than a few days, before a counter-offensive returns the status quo and then stalls itself. It is this endless series of failed offensives that has both sides reportedly looking for a deal in Tunisia talks.

Rebel rhetoric about encircling Tripoli seems aimed primarily at fueling a popular uprising in the capital, since indications are their forces nearby are far too small to actually take the city. This leaves the war once again resting on the assumption that something external is going to happen to rescue to situation and break the stalemate, but those events near seem to happen.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.