After taking the oil towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf, Libyan rebels are trying to persuade Sirte residents to lay down their arms. The city, Qaddafi's hometown, is one of the regime's last holdouts.
Brega and Benghazi, Libya
As Libyan rebels fight for the last remaining pockets of Tripoli still in the hands of Qaddafi loyalists, their eastern comrades are negotiating for a handover of Sirte – Qaddafi's hometown and one of the last cities held by his supporters.
A brigade of rebel fighters originally from Sirte was sent to negotiate with tribal elders to persuade the town to lay down its arms and avoid a bloody battle.
“I think 75 percent of the people there want a peaceful solution, but there are some people from Qaddafi’s tribe and they’re not going to surrender," he adds. "They have committed murder, so they’re afraid they’re going to be punished if they give up.”
The road leading west from Brega is full of holes from bombardments, and littered with burned out tanks, overturned cars, and discarded boxes that held rockets and ammunition, the signs of the rebels' push east.
Rebel fighters who have just returned from the front lines describe how they finally dislodged Qaddafi’s forces from the strategic oil town of Brega after months of stalemate, the rebel advance impeded by the landmines laid by Qaddafi forces and a desire to protect oil infrastructure.