Libyan government forces capture eastern town from rebels

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Libyan government troops have captured the seaport of Brega as they continue to move east through the country.

Over the past several days, government troops have captured several previously rebel-held areas, including the town of Ra's Lanuf on Saturday. In Sunday's events, government forces reportedly used air strikes and shelling against rebel forces, who retreated in the direction of Benghazi, with government forces in pursuit.

A Libyan military source said on state television that "Brega has been cleansed of armed gangs." A rebel involved in the fighting in Brega said that "There’s no uprising any more. The other day we were in Ras Lanuf, then Brega, the day after tomorrow they will be in Benghazi."

As government forces move east, morale among rebel forces is claimed to be low by the government. A military spokesperson said that rebels "are people who when we come to them raise their hands and give up."

Internationally, calls for a no-fly zone over Libya are increasing. The Arab League voted on Saturday for a no-fly zone, while France has said it will increase its efforts to persuade the international community put one in place.