Rebels cut off Tripoli


Rebel forces appear to have completed an encirclement of the Libyan capital Tripoli.

In the past couple of days the town of Zawiyah, 40 km to the west of the capital, appears to be in rebel hands which means that the main road to the West and Tunisia is closed. Meanwhile, rebels are said to have captured the key town of Garyan, 50 km to the south of the capital, which cuts off the main route to the South and to Algeria.

Although close to their prize, the forces of Colonel Gaddafi are still fighting back and it is hard to see how the rebels will take Tripoli unless the government falls. That seems more likely as the Interior Minister, Nasser al-Mabrouk Abdullah and a good proportion of his family have arrived in Cairo; he claims they are on holiday but that seems tenuous in current circumstances.

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