Fierce battle between pro- and anti-Gaddafi groups raged on Wednesday as forces loyal to the Libyan leader gained control of two strategic towns northwest of the country.
Forces loyal to Gaddafi have regained control of the cities of Gharyan and Sabratha. A series of air strikes have also been launched in an attempt to regain control of the city of Ajdabiya which is where a massive arms depot is currently being held by the Libyan rebels.
Conflicting reports have been published in regards to who has control of the eastern town of al-Brega, is located about 125 miles (equivalent to 200 kilometers) from Benghazi—the second largest city and the nerve center of protestors in Libya.
According to the Wall Street Journal and Haaretz, supporters of the Gaddafi government have taken control of the city. Ahmed Jerksi, manager of the Sirte oil company—one of the many oil facilities in Brega—confirms this in an interview he gave to the Associated Press. While he did mention that the take over of the Gaddafi loyalists did not involve any use of violence, other witnesses have told the news agency that rebel forces were marching on Brega.
On the other hand, news have also circulated that members of the opposition groups in Libya have regained control of the city following a clash between protestors and supporters of the Libyan government.
According to Mustafa Gheriani, spokesman for the anti-government group February 17th Coalition, the city "is back in the hands of the revolutionaries."
"They tried to take Brega this morning, but they failed," he said. "He (Gaddafi) is trying to create all kinds of psychological warfare to keep these cities on edge."
In the capital city of Tripoli, a fuel truck containing four compartments overturned and exploded, which caused panic to arise among the residents in the city. The cause of the explosion of the said fuel truck remains unknown as of this posting time as international journalists covering the incident were chased away from the scene by local residents.
The fierce battles raging within the country of Libya are the latest in a series of revolts and political unrest in the country after protestors in Libya have begun demanding Gaddafi to end his 40-year regime.
Supporters of the Libyan government have launched repeated air raids in the past two weeks, all reportedly targeting weapon storage facilities controlled by the rebels.
Earlier, the United States have sent a number of warships in the western part of the country in an effort to add more pressure on Gaddafi's government. On Monday, the destroyer USS Barry passed through the Suez Canal and stationed itself in the Mediterranean Sea. Two more assault ships—the USS Kearsarge and the USS Ponce—passed through the Suez Canal on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, efforts made by international diplomats to persuade Gaddafi have escalated. Following the adoption of a resolution to suspend Libya from its seat in the Human Rights Council by the UN General Assembly, some countries that are part of NATO are drawing up plans to impose an air embargo over Libya in order to prevent Gaddafi from carrying out further air strikes against the rebels.
Gaddafi continues to remain defiant. His son, Saif al-Islam, warned Western countries from launching any military action or force against his father's government and insisting that his father would neither step down or go into exile.