TRIPOLI, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Brega and Zawiyah, Libya's two oil-rich towns, are still in the complete control of Libyan government forces, said government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim on Tuesday.
He denied that rebels had taken the two key oil towns, adding that government troops are deadlocked in a tug of war with rebel forces in many other cites.
The spokesman admitted that rebel fighters had driven into parts of Sabratha and Salman, two cities some 60 km west of Tripoli. But he said government forces are still controlling key areas of Misrata.
He added that the two sides had fought a fierce battle over the past few days in Gharyan, a city located on the key traffic artery linking Tripoli and the Nafusa mountains.
Rebel forces have recently been committed to capturing some of the key townships in the nation's west and south territories to cut off supplies from these two directions into the capital.
Colonel Roland Lavoie, a NATO military spokesman, said on Tuesday that the rebels had made some advances that are "the most significant anti-Gaddafi territorial gain" in months.
However, situations on the ground still remained "very dynamic," he added.
Mansur Saif al-Nasr, the rebel National Transitional Council's envoy to Paris, said Tuesday that their victory is near.
"We are entering a decisive phase. We hope to celebrate the final victory at the same time as the end of (the Muslim holy month of) Ramadan" at the end of August, he said.
Libyan gov't forces claim victory in Misrata
TRIPOLI, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have declared victory in the stronghold of Misrata as soldiers fought their way into the city center, a government spokesman said Monday.
Government forces had started wiping out the remaining rebel forces inside Misrata, a city some 200 km east of Tripoli, Moussa Ibrahim told a local television station. Full story
U.S. says Libya gov't forces fire first Scud missile in conflict
WASHINGTON, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- U.S. media on Monday quoted defense officials as saying the Libyan government forces have fired the first Scud missile in its conflict with rebel forces.
The report said the missile launch was detected by U.S. forces participating in the NATO mission in Libya shortly after midnight Sunday. The Scud landed in the desert about 50 miles outside Brega, a strategic port on the Mediterranean coast Southeast of Tripoli. Full story
Special Report: Foreign Military Intervention in Libya