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Libyan rebels stand near covered bodies in the city of Ajdabiya yesterday, after regaining control of the town. STR/AP

Libyan rebels win back control over western oil town

Anti-Gaddafi forces recoup control of Ajdabiya – as well as capturing the coastal town of Brega, apparently without a fight.

LIBYA’S REBEL FORCES opposed to its leader Muammar Gaddafi have regained control of two coastal towns – one of which was apparently won without any resistance from Gaddafi’s forces.

The rebels have retaken the port of Ajdabiya, as well as recouping the town of Brega – and claim to be gaining strength as they seek to solidify their gains as they move westward into pro-Gaddafi strongholds.

Al Jazeera said Ajdabiya was now “completely” under rebel control, and aired video of the rebel forces claiming power in the town, while Al Arabiya confirmed that government forces had also retreated beyond Brega.

Gaddafi’s forces still hold the dominant control of the west, where only Misrata remains in rebel hands.

The Gaddafi regime has acknowledged that the strikes against it had forced it to retreat – but lashed out at the international coalition for choosing sides in the conflict.

The objective of the NATO coalition was now “not to protect civilians, because now they are directly fighting with the armed forces,” deputy foreign minister Khaled Kaim said, accusing the West of attempting to instigate a civil war.

Western forces have accused Libya of fabricating its claims of civilian deaths, however, with US defence secretary Robert Gates citing intelligence reports that said Gaddafi’s fighters were taking the bodies of people killed by their own attacks, bringing them to the site of allied bombings, and then blaming the coalition for killing Libyan civilians.

Gaddafi’s forces claim the western assault on the country has claimed over 100 civilian lives so far.

The Guardian said reports had been invited by the government to view the ‘evidence’ of such attacks, but were stopped from approaching sites of attacks.