Skip to main content

Rebel: Government forces, rebels clash in the Libyan city of Zawiya

From Amir Ahmed, CNN
Click to play
'Complete chaos' at Libyan hospital
  • No immediate casualties are reported
  • Zawiya is a city west of Tripoli
  • Relative calm descended on Misrata a day after heavy fighting there

Misrata, Libya (CNN) -- Government forces clashed with rebels in the Libyan city of Zawiya Saturday, said a rebel spokesman, one day after heavy fighting took place in the western city of Misrata.

There were no immediate reports of casualties in Zawiya, spokesman Ahmed al-Hawaary told CNN. He said fighting began early in the morning. Rebels surrounded a group of forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in the western part of the city, he said, adding that government forces control the eastern areas of Zawiya and the roads leading to Tripoli.

Zawiya is about 31 miles (50 kilometers) west of the capital city.

Rebels remain in control of some neighborhoods in Zawiya's city center and the west, al-Hawaary said.

The spokesman reported that NATO bombarded positions of forces loyal to Gadhafi in Zawiya, damaging equipment. It was not clear if anyone was injured or killed in those attacks, he said.

NATO intervened in March in the monthslong civil war under a U.N. mandate to protect civilians as Gadhafi tried to crush the revolt against him.

NATO responds to Gadhafi target reports
  • Libya
  • NATO

CNN could not independently confirm al-Hawaary's account of the clashes, which came one day after heavy fighting in Misrata.

Misrata has borne the brunt of the fighting in Libya for the past two months. More than 1,000 people are believed to have been killed there since early February, including 707 residents.

Fighting began there Friday at dawn and continued past midnight, leaving at least 31 people dead and more than 160 injured as rebels thwarted efforts by government forces to enter the city from the west and south.

The casualties were the heaviest in a month, said Dr. Khaled Abu Falgha with the city's Hekmah Hospital.

Relative calm returned Saturday, though rebels stepped up security at various checkpoints in the city and its outskirts. Many told CNN they feared forces loyal to Gadhafi could try to infiltrate their ranks.

Misrata is about 130 miles (209 kilometers) east of Tripoli.

The Misrata rebels' media committee released a statement Saturday claiming that Gadhafi forces fired rockets on the Dafniya area, damaging farmhouses and crops. No immediate casualties were reported.

The rebels also said a number of government forces were captured and that some 300 of Gadhafi's soldiers were killed in clashes in Zlitan on Friday.

CNN could not independently confirm those claims.

Part of complete coverage on
'Sons of Mubarak' in plea for respect
Pro-Mubarak supporters believe Egypt's former president is innocent of charges of corruption and killing protesters.
Timeline of the conflict in Libya
Fighting in Libya started with anti-government demonstrations in February and escalated into a nationwide civil war.
Who are these rebels?
After months of seeming stalemate, Libyan rebels declared they were moving in on Tripoli. But who are they?
Why NATO's Libya mission has shifted
Six months and more than 17,000 air sorties after it began, NATO's Operation Unified Protector in the skies over Libya grinds on.
Interactive map: Arab unrest
Click on countries in CNN's interactive map to see the roots of their unrest and where things stand today.
Send your videos, stories
Are you in the Middle East or North Africa? Send iReport your images. Don't do anything that could put you at risk.
Libya through Gadhafi's keyhole
Behind the official smiles for the cameras some people in Libya's capital are waiting for the rebels, reports CNN's Ivan Watson.
How Arab youth found its voice
Tunisia's Mohamed Bouazizi not only ignited a series of revolts but heralded the first appearance of Arab youth on the stage of modern history.