Reactions from our Observers in Tripoli as rebels fight for control
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Our Observers on the ground describe what's happening in Tripoli as rebels fight for control of the capital.
"The rebels are now looking for Gaddafi’s snipers, who, rumour has it, are hiding in the neighbourhood"
Mohammed lives in the neighbourhood of Al-Andalus in central Tripoli, near the French embassy.
The rebels and Gaddafi’s men clashed during the night. After that, the rebels were joined by fighters from Zawiya [one of the key cities on the road to Tripoli, which was taken over by the rebels last week]. Many loyalist soldiers fled, while others turned themselves in. I heard the shooting stop around 9 a.m. The rebels are now looking for Gaddafi’s snipers, who, rumour has it, are hiding in the neighbourhood. They also put up street barricades to control who is coming in and out of the area.”
"Hundreds of injured are queuing in the hospital's corridors. Still, it isn’t as many as we expected"
Mokhtar (not his real name) is a doctor at Tripoli's Central Hospital.
We have a shortage of doctors because they can’t get to the hospitals. I myself am unable to go to work today because it isn’t safe to move. I wasn’t allowed past the checkpoints.
However people at the hospital called me this morning. They are receiving casualties, and hundreds of injured are queuing in the corridors. Still, it isn’t as many as we expected, though we don’t have exact numbers yet. Last night was rather quiet – the rebels moved into Tripoli smoothly, with little resistance. Today it is much less safe. There are snipers all around the city centre, guarding the state television headquarters.
We have heard about fighting around Gaddafi’s headquarters and in the port, so the number of casualties could go up quickly. But we should get a much clearer picture in the following hours. If the fighting scales up, with this shortage of doctors, people are really going to suffer."
"We saw Gaddafi’s troops and his mercenaries retreat, by foot and by car"
Houda (not her real name) lives in a village near a military base and a checkpoint between Zanzour and Tripoli, about 20 kilometers from the capital.
Yesterday, as the sun set, we heard gunfire. After six months of combat, I can now tell the difference between the sound of a M14 and a M16 [assault rifle]! But we couldn’t tell who was shooting. A friend called his cousin, who is part of the rebellion, to ask him where they were. He confirmed that the rebels were getting very close. We heard the shooting continue for a while, which seemed to indicate there was some resistance. Then, we saw Gaddafi’s troops and his mercenaries retreat, by foot and by car. Shortly after, lots of young men in pickup trucks drove by our homes, yelling for joy. We ran outside, yelling ‘Alla Akbar!’ [God is great]. All the children in the village ran out into the street carrying dates and food.
After 42 years of complete anarchy, we are now living a historic moment. I was born under Gaddafi’s regime, and I used to think he protected us from conflict between Libya’s tribes. I have come to realize this was pure propaganda.”
"We all know that the last hours of a regime are the most difficult"
Hisham Karmous lives in Tripoli, in the neighbourhood of Al Mansoura. This is close to Bab Aziza, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s headquarters.
I have been hearing gunshots since this morning. I haven’t left my home, but many of my neighbours went out to welcome the rebels. I’m afraid that Gaddafi’s supporters might adopt a scorched earth policy, now that they have nothing left to lose. We all know that the last hours of a regime are the most difficult. But after that, I’m very optimistic for the future. Through this revolution, the Libyan people have proved their maturity and shown their thirst for freedom. Nothing can stop the march of democracy now. People keep talking about the role of NATO in the fall of Tripoli, but I think we should not underestimate the role of the rebels, who were well-trained and well-organized for this final push.”
Celebrations in Benghazi
These videos show residents of Benghazi celebrating on the evening of August 21, as rebels swept into Tripoli.
Published on YouTube by MrElnadory.