Zawiya skirmish

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Zawiya skirmish
Part of the Libyan civil war
Date 11 June – 12 June 2011
Location Zawiya, Libya
Result Pro-Gaddafi victory[1][2][3]
  • Pro-Gaddafi forces repel rebel attack on the city
Belligerents
Libya Anti-Gaddafi forces Libya Gaddafi Loyalists
Commanders and leaders
Unknown Libya Mahdi al-Arabi[4]
Strength
100–200 fighters[5] Munawaba Brigade[4]
Casualties and losses
30 killed
20 wounded[6]
2–dozens*[5][7] killed
17 captured[8]
1 civilian killed[9]
*Rebels claimed that up to 100 loyalist soldiers were killed, but no independent sources confirmed the claim[10]

The Zawiya skirmish began on 11 June 2012, when the National Liberation Army launched an attack into the coastal city of Zawiya in an attempt to recapture it[11] from army units and militiamen loyal to Muammar Gaddafi. The attack was quickly crushed by the numerically-superior and better-equipped loyalist forces, who had taken the city earlier in the Libyan civil war after defeating rebel forces in a major battle that lasted from February to March 2011.

Combat[edit]

New clashes had restarted by early June, with an anti-Gaddafi uprising within the city. On 11 June, a spokesman for the rebel National Transitional Council said that the opposition fighters were in control of a large area on the western side of the city. Later the same day, Reuters confirmed that the coastal road was shut down and deserted, except for a large number of soldiers, police and armed men in civilian clothes. Residents also confirmed that fighting begun during the morning between loyalist forces and rebels and described fighting as "heavy".[12]

According to rebel spokesman within the city, 30 rebels were killed and 20 wounded in two days of fighting. The rebels managed to take control of the western side of the city, but the loyalists remained in control of the city center and the eastern side.[6] Also, there were reports that loyalist forces were receiving reinforcements.[9] Guma el-Gamaty, United Kingdom based coordinator for the National Transitional Council claimed that rebel fighters in Zawiya are composed of fighters which trained in the Nafusa Mountains. Moussa Ibrahim, a Libyan government spokesman, insisted that only 20 to 25 rebels guerrilla fighters infiltrated the city and were being surrounded, and that they posed no threat to the regime.[11]

By the evening of 12 June, a government spokesman announced that the rebels were defeated at Zawiya after hours of fighting.[13] A group of foreign reporters were taken from Tripoli to Zawiya for confirmation of the loyalist victory. The reporters saw secure streets and confirmed that the pro-Gaddafi green flag was flying at the main square, where hours earlier rebels had claimed to have surrounded the loyalists and be attacking them from three sides. The government stated that the opposition forces had been pushed out of the city and surrounded on the edge of Zawiya.[3] This was partially confirmed with a reporter hearing several gunshots west of the city center, from where the rebels assaulted, and a rebel in the town stating that fighting was still taking place.[14][15]

The rebels claimed that during the battle, a loyalist commander, the high-ranking el-Khouwildy el-Ahmeidy, was seriously wounded in a NATO air-strike while he was heading to Zawiya.[3]

On 13 June, contact with the rebel spokesman in the city, who was updating journalists on the situation, had ceased and the highway running through Zawiya toward the Tunisian border was re-opened. Foreign journalists were taken on a tour along the highway, confirming that traffic wasn't being re-routed anymore around Zawiya, as was done at the beginning of the fighting.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Germany recognizes Libya's rebel leadership". Reuters. 13 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "Libya 'repulses rebels' in Zawiya". BBC. 13 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Michaels, Maggie (11 June 2011). "Libya's rebels claim resurgence; government denies". The Guardian (Misrata). Associated Press. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Zawya Hospital aftermath of 11/06/2011 fighting. Universalsubtitles.org. Retrieved on 2011-06-15.
  5. ^ a b McDonnell, Patrick J. (13 June 2011). "Libyan officials and rebels give conflicting reports on Zawiya fighting". Los Angeles Times (Tripoli). Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Libyan forces fight rebels on several fronts". CTV News. Associated Press. 12 June 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "Rebels press Gaddafi on three fronts as southern tribe revolts". The Scotsman. 12 June 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  8. ^ "Libyan rebels capture 17 Gaddafi's soldiers". Xinhua (Beijing). 12 June 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Rebels say clashes near Libyan capital kill 13". Algiers: Today's Zaman. Reuters. 12 June 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  10. ^ "Al Jazeera Live Blog". Al Jazeera. 12 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Londono, Ernesto (11 June 2011). "Libyan rebels battle for key oil port near Tripoli". Washington Post (Zawiya). Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "Fighting in Zawiyah shuts Libya coast road-resident". Reuters Africa. Reuters. 11 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  13. ^ "Libyan government says Zawiyah revolt defeated". Reuters Africa. Reuters. 12 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  14. ^ "Libyan rebels say still fighting near capital". Reuters. 12 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  15. ^ "Zawiyah's heart a ghost town after rebel advance". Reuters. 12 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 

Coordinates: 32°45′8″N 12°43′40″E / 32.75222°N 12.72778°E / 32.75222; 12.72778