Rebels seek no-fly zone as Gaddafi’s air power tells
Libyan warplanes have launched multiple air strikes on opposition fighters regrouping at an oil port on the Mediterranean coast.
It was the second day of a government counter-offensive to thwart a rebel advance toward Muammar Gaddafi's stronghold in the capital Tripoli.
President Barack Obama said the US and its Nato allies are still considering a military response to the violence and Britain and France were drafting a UN resolution that would establish a no-fly zone.
The anti-government forces trying to oust Gaddafi say they will be outgunned if the regime continues to unleash its air power on them and are pleading for the international community to impose a no-fly zone to protect them from more strikes.
However, they oppose foreign troops on the ground.
“We don't want a foreign military intervention, but we do want a no-fly zone,” said rebel fighter Ali Suleiman. “We are all waiting for one,” he added. The rebels can take on “the rockets and the tanks, but not Gaddafi's air force,” he said.
The regime has managed to halt for now a rebel advance that began last week when fighters ventured beyond the opposition-controlled eastern half of the country.
The rebels are now struggling to maintain supply lines for weapons, ammunition and food, with many |living off junk food, biscuits and cans of tuna.
Hundreds if not thousands of people have died since Libya's uprising began, although tight restrictions on media make it near impossible to get an accurate tally. More than 200,000 people have fled the country, most of them foreign workers.