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As Libya's conflict deepens, nations weigh long-term options

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Hussein Malla/AP

(Read caption) Libyan anti-government rebels celebrate at a checkpoint in Ras Lanouf, eastern Libya, March 7. Forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi launched an airstrike against a rebel position in Ras Lanouf, a key oil port, on Monday but there were no casualties. A day earlier, a heavy assault by pro-regime forces stalled the rebel advance.

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As forces loyal to Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi struck back at rebels on Sunday, the United Nations called for an end to the “indiscriminate” violence being perpetrated by pro-government troops.

Concern is growing about a possible protracted civil war, the Guardian reports. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Abdelilah Al-Khatib, Jordan’s former foreign minister, as his special envoy to Libya and has dispatched a team to Tripoli to investigate the humanitarian situation.

“The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the fighting in western Libya, which is claiming large numbers of lives and threatens even more carnage in the days ahead,” said a statement on the UN website. “He notes that civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence, and calls for an immediate halt to the Government’s disproportionate use of force and indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets.”

In addition to concern for Libyan citizens, the UN has also expressed concern about foreign nationals and other individuals trying to flee the country, reports the Guardian. During the peak of people fleeing, as many as 20,000 people left the country per day. Now that number has dropped to several hundred per day and there are reports of harassment by government forces.


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