Friday, June 10, 2011

Rebels Under Siege in Misurata Asking Where's NATO?

The death toll is steadily climbing in Misurata today as Libyan rebels and civilians endure a steady shelling from Moammar Gadhafi's forces who have the port city surrounded on three sides.

Gadhafi's tanks and rockets on the outskirts west of Misurata reportedly killed more than two dozen people and left at least 85 others wounded in a daylong barrage, the rebels said. The latest seige of Misurata has killed more than 90 people, mostly rebel fighters, in the past week.

Rebels forces in Misurata are beginning to ask where are the NATO aircraft?

"It is horrible out there," a rebel fighter deplored in Misurata, according to CNN. "The revolutionaries are taking tank power in their chests."

“The disheartening thing is that NATO is nowhere to be seen,” Mohamed Ali, a rebel spokesman from Misurata told The Washington Post from Qatar, where he is on a diplomatic mission.

NATO's attack helicopters hit communications and military positions outside Misurata overnight, but they were not seen over the battlefield when Gadhafi forces were exposed during the daylight attacks, the rebels complained.

"The tanks were clear for NATO I don't know why NATO didn't bomb. They were very easy to see," Misurata rebel fighter Mohamed Khalid told The Guardian of London.

Unnamed NATO officials reminded the disappointed rebels of the NATO mission and United Nation mandate. "NATO nations are in Libya to protect civilians. The rebels have proved themselves to be very courageous but we are not there to act as their air force," one told The Guardian.

NATO is also stretched pretty thin, as outgoing Defense Secretary Roberty Gates told the alliance in a tough-love speech in Brussels.

Meanwhile, a rebel uprising has the chance of gaining steam in Zitlan, located about 100 miles southwest of Triploi, the rebels claimed. “Zlitan has fully risen,” Ali said.

It is worthy noting there some evidence the Zitlan uprising was triggered when Gadhafi forces trying to lure new recruits there to fight their fellow citizens. A protest broke out that morphed into an armed uprising against the Gadhafi forces.

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