The Battle of Ajdabiya was an armed battle in and near the city of Ajdabiya that took place as part of the Libyan Civil War. It was fought between anti-government rebels and military forces loyal to the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Following the Second Battle of Brega, in which pro-Gaddafi forces captured the town, Ajdabiya was the only major rebel-held city left en route to the rebel capital of Benghazi. The battle for Ajdabiya had been cited as a potential turning point in the conflict on which the fate of the whole rebellion against the Gaddafi government may be decided.On 26 March 2011, Libyan rebels, backed by extensive allied air raids, seized control of the frontline oil town of Ajdabiya from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces. During the first phase of the battle, pro-Gaddafi forces seized the strategic road junction leading to Benghazi and Tobruk, and captured most of the city. The city centre remained in rebel hands, but was surrounded by pro-government forces and cut off from outside assistance. After the second phase, anti-Gaddafi forces recaptured the road junction and cleared loyalist forces from the city, sending them retreating down the Libyan Coastal Highway towards Sirte.
Ajdabiya, previously known as Agedabia, is a town in and capital of the Al Wahat District in northeastern Libya. It is some 150 kilometres (93 mi) south of Benghazi. From 2001 to 2007 it was part of and capital of the Ajdabiya District. The town is divided into three Basic People's Congresses: North Ajdabiya, West Ajdabiya and East Ajdabiya.
Libya, officially the State of Libya, is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west, and Tunisia to the northwest. The sovereign state is made of three historical regions: Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. With an area of almost 1.8 million square kilometres (700,000 sq mi), Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa, and is the 16th largest country in the world. Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world. The largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya and contains over one million of Libya's six million people. The second-largest city is Benghazi, which is located in eastern Libya.
Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi, commonly known as Colonel Gaddafi, was a Libyan revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He governed Libya as Revolutionary Chairman of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977, and then as the "Brotherly Leader" of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011. He was initially ideologically committed to Arab nationalism and Arab socialism but later ruled according to his own Third International Theory.
Ajdabiya was the site of anti-government protests on 16–17 February 2011 in which up to 10 people were said to have been killed, some by pro-government snipers.Protesters quickly took control of the city and declared it to be a "Free City" after burning down the local government headquarters.
On 15 March 2011, government forces advancing from Brega (which they had captured just a few hours earlier) hit Ajdabiya with a rolling artillery barrage. Air and naval strikes also hit the city. The city had been subjected to airstrikes for the previous three days. Rebels had stated on 13 March, that they would defend the city to the death. However, as soon as the attack started, all of the rebel forces that were not local (from Ajdabiya) were in full retreat, with some of the civilian population, toward Benghazi. Following the artillery strikes, loyalist ground troops attacked. The rebels had expected the loyalists to come in from the west, and they did. However, another separate government force had outflanked the rebels and attacked the city from the south. The loyalists quickly overran the western rebel defences and took the western gate into the city. Also, government soldiers had taken the eastern gate of the city, preventing any more rebels from retreating toward Benghazi. The city was surrounded and the junction at Ajdabiya was under government control, opening the way for them to Benghazi. After the encirclement was complete, government battle tanks went into Ajdabiya all the way to the city center. They encountered the rebel remnants and street fighting ensued. While the fighting was going on in the streets, two old rebel air-attack fighters, sent from Benghazi, attacked the government naval ships that had been pounding the city from the sea. According to independent news sources, only one ship was hit, while the rebels claimed they hit three warships, of which two sank. After a few hours, most of the city was under government control, however, in order to avoid surprise attacks by hidden rebels during the night, the tanks retreated to the outskirts of the city. The rebels thought they had won. However, just before midnight, a new round of artillery fire hit Ajdabiya, coming from the loyalist forces that were all around the town.
Brega, also known as Mersa Brega or Marsa al-Brega, is a complex of several smaller towns, industry installations and education establishments situated in Libya on the Gulf of Sidra, the most southerly point of the Mediterranean Sea. It is located in the former Ajdabiya District, which in 2007 was merged into the Al Wahat District. The town is the center of Libya's second-largest hydro-carbon complex.
Artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry's small arms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications during sieges, and led to heavy, fairly immobile siege engines. As technology improved, lighter, more mobile field artillery cannons developed for battlefield use. This development continues today; modern self-propelled artillery vehicles are highly mobile weapons of great versatility providing the large share of an army's total firepower.
An airstrike, air strike or air raid is an offensive operation carried out by aircraft. Air strikes are delivered from aircraft such as blimps, balloons, fighters, bombers, ground attack aircraft, attack helicopters and drones. The official definition includes all sorts of targets, including enemy air targets, but in popular usage the term is usually narrowed to a tactical (small-scale) attack on a ground or naval objective as opposed to a larger, more general attack such as carpet bombing. Weapons used in an airstrike can range from aircraft cannon and machine gun bullets or shells, air-launched rockets, missiles, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles to various types of bombs, glide bombs and even directed-energy weapons such as lasers.
On 16 March, fighting continued with neither side having the upper hand in the battle or in full control of the town.Government forces returning from the front said in interviews that rebel resistance was fierce. During the day, a force of rebel reinforcements, coming from Benghazi, came to within a few kilometers from the eastern entrance to the city before they were engaged by loyalist troops. They made a small corridor to link up Benghazi with Ajdabiya, but pro-Gaddafi troops still had a strong presence on the eastern outskirts of the city. Also, rebels had managed to retake the southern entrance to the city, while the western entrance was still under government control. Three rebel helicopters had attacked pro-Gaddafi forces on the highway at the west entrance where they were preparing for a final push into the city with more weapons, ammunition and troop reinforcements coming in from Sirte.
Just after midnight on 17 March, government troops attacked the southern gate of the city. After three hours of fighting they had retaken it. Later during the morning loyalist forces closed the corridor on the eastern side of the city. With this, the city was once again firmly surrounded. While the fighting was going on in Ajdabiya, more government troops landed from the sea, in an amphibious attack, at the small oil port town of Zuwetina, that is to the north on the road between Ajdabiya and Benghazi. The town fell quickly to loyalist forces.However, rebel leaders claimed that they had surrounded the government landing force and were engaging them. The next day the rebels claimed, several of their fighters, along with a number of civilians, were killed and 20 government soldiers captured in fighting at the port.
Zuwetina is a coastal town and oil-exporting port in the Al Wahat District of the Cyrenaica region in north-eastern Libya. From 1987 to 2007 Zuwetina was in the former Ajdabiya District. The oil terminal in the small harbor is operated by the Zuwetina Oil Company. The town's primary activities relate to oil production and transshipping crude oil. It is about 180 km south west of Benghazi. The port was the site of skirmishes between pro- and anti-Gaddafi forces during the 2011 Libyan civil war.
With a no-fly zone put in place on 19 March, and air-strikes on Gaddafi's force's supply and tank convoys, the rebels on 20 March, started an advance from Benghazi to attempt to reach Ajdabiya. 19 kilometres (12 mi) from the city. That night, U.S. aircraft fired on some loyalist positions at Ajdabiya, that were reported to be shelling the city.Along the way, they retook the town of Zuwetina. On 21 March, advancing rebel forces from Benghazi attempted to attack Ajdabiya, trying to relieve the rebels inside the city and drive out the loyalist troops. However, their attack was repelled by government troops supported by fire from tanks and multiple rocket launchers. The rebels retreated to a checkpoint
On 19 March 2011, a multi-state NATO-led coalition began a military intervention in Libya, ostensibly to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. The United Nations' intent and voting was to have "an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians, which it said might constitute crimes against humanity ... imposing a ban on all flights in the country's airspace – a no-fly zone – and tightened sanctions on the [Muammar] Gaddafi regime and its supporters." The resolution was taken in response to events during the Libyan Civil War, and military operations began, with American and British naval forces firing over 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles, the French Air Force, British Royal Air Force, and Royal Canadian Air Force undertaking sorties across Libya and a naval blockade by Coalition forces. French jets launched air strikes against Libyan Army tanks and vehicles. Despite the use of foreign airstrikes, the intervention did not consist of foreign ground troops. The Libyan government response to the campaign was totally ineffectual, with Gaddafi's forces not managing to shoot down a single NATO plane despite the country possessing 30 heavy SAM batteries, 17 medium SAM batteries, 55 light SAM batteries, and 440–600 short-ranged air-defense guns. The official names for the interventions by the coalition members are Opération Harmattan by France; Operation Ellamy by the United Kingdom; Operation Mobile for the Canadian participation and Operation Odyssey Dawn for the United States. Italy initially opposed the intervention but then offered to take part in the operations on the condition that NATO took the leadership of the mission instead of individual countries. As this condition was later met, Italy shared its bases and intelligence with the allies.
The next morning, rebels, along with a Guardian reporter that was with them, claimed that the plumes of smoke from the city were from government targets that were hit by the U.S. air-strikes the previous night.The rebels claimed that at least three loyalist tanks were destroyed at the eastern entrance to the city by Coalition air-strikes. An Al Jazeera news crew filmed the wreckage of one tank at a checkpoint that was established by the rebels as part of the frontline.
On 23 March, coalition jets launched air-strikes against Gaddafi forces at the eastern gate.People fleeing the city stated that only the center of the city remained in rebel hands while the suburbs were under government control. Reporters from the Independent were led on a two-day tour of Ajdabiya by the government and saw no evidence of large-scale destruction that was claimed by the rebels.
On 24 March, Gaddafi's forces were still holding the main east and west gate areas of the city and most of the town, except the city centre, and managing to hold off the advancing rebel troops from entering the city with the help of mortar and artillery fire.Late on 24 March, some outside rebel forces managed to get into Ajdabiya, and the situation in the city was becoming fluid, with large parts of the town changing sides. During the night, British fighter jets launched air-strikes on Gaddafi force's tanks and armored vehicles.
By 25 March, the western and central part of the city were controlled by the loyalists while the eastern part was controlled by the rebels.Early in the morning, the opposition council relayed a message to Gaddafi's forces in the city through local tribal leaders. They called upon the loyalists to lay down their weapons and surrender. However, government troops refused the offer of surrender and the rebels were starting to mass on the edge of the city for an offensive to attack Ajdabiya. During the afternoon, four rebel multiple rocket launchers, that were brought to the frontline, started firing on loyalist positions. Government artillery responded to the attack. Just before evening, the rebel offensive on the Gaddafi controlled areas of the city was called off after forward rebel units were repelled by loyalist armored units at the gates of the town further continuing the stalemate.
During the night, some rebel units were still managing to get into the city through the corridor established the previous evening [ citation needed ]and British aircraft destroyed seven loyalist tanks in and around the city. By this point, the city was divided between the loyalist-held western side and the rebel-held eastern side.
On 26 March, rebel fighters in Ajdabiya claimed to be in control of the city, a claim confirmed by Al Jazeera reporters on the ground.Libya's Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said government forces pulled out of Ajdabiya after another night of coalition strikes, Reuters reports. He accused Western forces of directly aiding the rebels. Rebels then headed to Brega and managed to capture the city.
Al Jazeera received reports that pro-Gaddafi Libyan army general Bilgasim al-Ganga was captured by rebels during the night of 25 March.
The Battle of Misrata, also known as the Siege of Misrata, was a battle of the 2011 Libyan Civil War for the control of Misrata. It was fought between troops loyal to the government of Muammar Gaddafi, and anti-Gaddafi rebels who held Misrata, the third largest city in Libya. Following the initial stages of the uprising, the Libyan government took back most towns in the west of the country, leaving Misrata the only major city under rebel control in Tripolitania. The city soon became the site of one of the war's major battles. The suffering of Misrata's citizens gained worldwide attention. The intensity of fighting, and its importance both strategic and symbolic, earned the battle notice as 'Libya's Stalingrad'. During the siege, the city saw very heavy fighting, came under daily assaults and shelling, and was at times cut off from its seaport, leaving no escape route for Misrata's inhabitants. Following UN military intervention in the civil war, NATO declared that breaking the encirclement of the city was its top priority. It ranks as one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the entire war. In late April and early May, rebel counterattacks successfully retook the city, culminating in the fall of the airport and nearby military airbase on 11 May.
The First Battle of Benghazi occurred as part of the Libyan Civil War between army units and militiamen loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and anti-Gaddafi forces in February 2011. The battle mainly took place in Benghazi, the second-largest city in Libya, with related clashes occurring in the nearby Cyrenaican cities of Bayda and Derna. In Benghazi itself most of the fighting occurred during a siege of the government-controlled Katiba compound.
The First Battle of Brega was fought during the Libyan Civil War. It began when pro-Gaddafi government troops attacked the city, held by the National Transitional Council, in the early hours of 2 March 2011.
The Battle of Ra's Lanuf was a two-phase battle in 2011 during the Libyan Civil War between forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and those loyal to the National Transitional Council. Both forces sought control of the town of Ra's Lanuf. The first phase followed two days after the First Battle of Brega which occurred in the town Brega, roughly 130 kilometres (81 mi) to the east of Ra's Lanuf. After conquering the town on 4 March, the rebels pushed further west to attack Sirte but they were driven back by government forces and on 11 March, government troops reconquered most of Ra's Lanuf.
The Second Battle of Brega was a battle during the Libyan Civil War. More than 10 days earlier, anti-Gaddafi forces beat back an attempt by loyalist forces to take the town on 2 March 2011, in the First Battle of Brega. Following that battle, rebel forces advanced along the Libyan Coastal Highway, taking the towns of Ra's Lanuf and Bin Jawad. However, after the Battle of Bin Jawad and the Battle of Ra's Lanuf, government troops retook all of the territory lost and were once again threatening Brega by mid-March.
The Second Battle of Benghazi was a battle in the Libyan Civil War between army units and militiamen loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and anti-Gaddafi forces in Benghazi. The battle marked the start of a United Nations-mandated military intervention in the conflict, with fighter jets from the French Air Force attacking and destroying several pro-Gaddafi units, forcing them to retreat.
The Third Battle of Brega was a battle during the Libyan Civil War between government forces and anti-Gaddafi forces for control of the town of Brega and its surroundings.
The First Gulf of Sidra offensive was the second major rebel offensive of the Libyan Civil War. It was mounted by anti-Gaddafi forces immediately after their victory in the Battle of Ajdabiya. The offensive was meant to have the rebel forces quickly reach Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte.
The Fourth Battle of Brega was a battle during the Libyan Civil War between forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi and forces of the Libyan opposition for control of the strategic town of Brega and its oil port.
The Battle of Brega–Ajdabiya road was a battle during the Libyan Civil War between forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and anti-Gaddafi forces for control of the towns of Brega and Ajdabiya respectively and the Libyan Coastal Highway between them.
The Battle of the Misrata frontline was a battle during the Libyan Civil War between pro-Gaddafi loyalists and anti-Gaddafi forces on the western and southwestern outskirts of Misrata, the third largest city in Libya. It ended when anti-Gaddafi soldiers secured Zliten to the west and Tawergha to the south, establishing a significant buffer zone around the city.
The Second Battle of Zawiya or Zawia was a battle in the Libyan Civil War between rebel anti-Gaddafi forces and forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi for control of the Tripolitanian city of Zawia.
The Battle of Zliten followed an unsuccessful uprising in Zliten, Libya, during the Libyan Civil War. It began on 21 July 2011 when elements of the National Liberation Army, part of the anti-Gaddafi forces seeking to overthrow the government of Muammar Gaddafi, moved into the city of Zliten after struggling over the course of the past several months to extend the frontline westward from Misrata, the second-largest city in rebel hands.
The timeline of the Libyan Civil War begins on 15 February 2011 and ends on 20 October 2011. It begins with a series of peaceful protests, similar to others of the Arab Spring, later becoming a full-scale civil war between the forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi's government and the anti-Gaddafi forces. The conflict can roughly be divided into two periods before and after external military intervention authorized by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.
The First Battle of Zawiya or Zawia was a battle during the Libyan Civil War between army units and militiamen loyal to Muammar Gaddafi and anti-Gaddafi forces for control of the city of Zawia.
The Libyan Civil War began on 15 February 2011 as a civil protest and later evolved into a widespread uprising. However, by 19 March, Libyan forces under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi were on the brink of a decisive victory over rebels in Libya's east. That day, leading NATO members acted on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 which authorized member states "to take all necessary measures... to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding an occupation force".
The Battle of Sirte was the final battle of the Libyan Civil War, beginning when the National Liberation Army attacked the last remnants of the Libyan army still loyal to Muammar Gaddafi in his hometown and designated capital of Sirte, on the Gulf of Sidra. As of September 2011, Sirte and Bani Walid were the last strongholds of Gaddafi loyalists and the NTC hoped that the fall of Sirte would bring the war to an end. The battle and its aftermath marked the final collapse of the four-decade Gaddafi regime. Both Gaddafi and his son, Mutassim, were wounded and captured, and tortured and killed in custody less than an hour later. The month-long battle left Sirte almost completely in ruins, with many buildings damaged or totally destroyed.
The Libyan Civil War began on 17 February 2011 as a civil protest and later evolved into a widespread uprising. After a military intervention led by France, the United Kingdom, and the United States on 19 March turned the tide of the conflict at the Second Battle of Benghazi, anti-Gaddafi forces regrouped and established control over Misrata and most of the Nafusa Mountains in Tripolitania and much of the eastern region of Cyrenaica. In mid-May, they finally broke an extended siege of Misrata.