8:07am

Sat August 20, 2011
Middle East

Libyan Rebels Take Hold In Strategic City

Rebels in Libya are tightening their grip on territory they've seized from forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi. They are fighting battles in coastal cities around the capital of Tripoli, capturing the main square in the strategic western city of Zawiya after more than a week of heavy fighting.

NPR has not independently confirmed wire reports that the rebels control Zawiya, but a victory in that city would be an important boost for the rebels as they try to tighten the noose on Gadhafi's stronghold in Tripoli, just 30 miles to the east.

The regime appears to be increasingly isolated, and is scrambling to marshal all the forces available to it to hold back rebels at the western front.

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