Libya rebels expect victory soon
Updated: 2011-08-18 08:17
A Libyan rebel runs across a street while dodging sniper fire from a hotel down the road in the western town of Zawiya on Tuesday. [Photo/Agencies]
BENGHAZI, Libya - Libya's rebels were bolstered by fresh battlefield advances on Wednesday, as leaders claimed the six-month-old civil war had entered a decisive phase and could end within weeks.
Revitalized rebel forces pushed further to isolate Tripoli and turn the screws on Muammar Gadhafi, moving toward a western town that links the capital and Sirte - Gadhafi's hometown and a stronghold for his military.
"The scouting teams of the revolutionaries reached the outskirts of Al-Heisha after expelling Gadhafi forces," the rebel military command said in a statement early on Wednesday.
Al-Heisha lies roughly 70 kilometers south of Misrata and 250 km from Tripoli, near two key crossroads that link loyalist-held territory in the west with that in the oil-rich Sirte basin.
Meanwhile, the Libyan opposition welcomes Chinese enterprises back to Libya and looks forward to China's participation in rebuilding the country, an opposition leader said on Wednesday.
The rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) will respect all deals and contracts that the government signed with Chinese companies, NTC Vice-President Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga said in an interview with Xinhua. The NTC welcomes Chinese enterprises back to the country to complete existing projects, he said.
All deals and contracts that were signed earlier will be examined to determine whether there is any corruption, he added.
Ghoga said he is looking forward to China's role in rebuilding the North African country and a complete partnership between the two countries.
Libya and China share huge economic interests, the NTC leader said, and Libya would need China even more after Gadhafi's rule ends.
Ghoga said he hopes China can use its international status to support Libyan people's efforts to build a democratic country ruled by law and help retrieve the country's frozen overseas assets.
Wednesday's battlefield advances were just the latest in a series of operations to isolate the capital, which the rebels hope will force defections from the government and spark a Tripoli uprising against Gadhafi. Mansur Saif al-Nasr, the NTC's envoy to Paris, said on Tuesday that the rebels also had full control of Zawiyah, a vital oil port just west of Tripoli that links the capital with Tunisia.
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