With fires burning out of control at rebel-held fuel storage facilities in Misrata after bombing raids carried out by forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi, it is increasingly appearing to international observers that the Libyan government may be winning the civil war, despite an overwhelming military interference by NATO air forces.
The attack left Misrata's only fuel source in tatters. Misrata is the last city in the west of the country under rebel control.
"Four (fuel) tanks were totally destroyed and a huge fire erupted which spread now to the other four. We cannot extinguish it because we do not have the right tools," rebel spokesman Ahmed Hassan told Reuters, according to a report in Haaretz
Libyan rebels are facing considerable shelling in the western region of the country, Voice of America reported
Libyan state television reported that a group of rebels had surrendered on the outskirts of Misrata
, according to Haaretz
NATO forces were originally commissioned to enforce a United Nations mandate on the implementation of a no-fly zone to protect civilians caught in the crossfire of Libya's civil war. However, NATO has since openly sided with the rebel cause in Libya, striking Gaddafi's forces on sight. Yet the fighting in Libya has remained fierce, and Colonel Gaddafi's forces have shown little signs of weakening in the face of NATO attacks.
On Friday, France announced its intention to expel 14 Libyan diplomats in protest of the Gaddafi government. France's decision came on the heels of a similar move by the UK.
The United States government has begun jockeying for the distribution of the Libyan government's $30 billion in seized assets to the rebel forces. Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim characterized the US attempt as "piracy on the high seas."