Libya rebels capture main square in Zawiya

August 20, 2011 - 7:50 AM
Mideast Libya

Rebel fighters, foreground, pray during Friday prayers in the rebel-held town of Benghazi, Libya, Friday, Aug. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)

ZAWIYA, Libya (AP) — Libyan rebels have captured the main square in Zawiya after more than a week of heavy fighting in the strategic city west of Tripoli.

An Associated Press reporter on Saturday entered the square, which was full of rebel trucks and troops.

Moammar Gadhafi's forces remain in the eastern part of the city, and rebels are battling to expel them and claim full control over Zawiya.

A victory in Zawiya would be an important boost for the rebels as they try to tighten the noose on Gadhafi's stronghold in Tripoli, just 30 miles (50 kilometers) to the east.

The regime appears to be increasingly isolated, and is scrambling to marshal all the forces available to it to hold back rebels at the western front.