Libyan rebels lose ground to Kadhafi forces
RAS LANUF, Libya (AFP) – Libyan rebels ceded ground to Moamer Kadhafi’s advancing forces Monday as the United States came under increasing pressure to arm the opposition and the UN appointed a special envoy to Tripoli.
The rebels began pulling back from the key oil terminal town of Ras Lanuf on Monday as a fighter jet blasted defences on the edge of town, throwing up palls of smoke amid rumours that government forces were gearing for an attack.
Amid the bloodiest fighting of the three-week old conflict Sunday, the United Nations demanded urgent access to scores of “injured and dying” in the western city of Misrata and rebels were forced to withdraw from the front line at Bin Jawad, 30 kilometres (19 miles) west along the coast from Ras Lanuf.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Kadhafi’s foreign minister agreed to let a “humanitarian assessment” team visit Tripoli and he named former Jordanian foreign minister Abdulilah al-Khatib as special envoy to deal with the regime. Khatib was to undertake “urgent consultations” with the Tripoli government.