9 March 2011
Last updated at 08:25
As Libyan rebels battle forces loyal to leader Col Muammar Gaddafi, the calls for international military intervention grow louder. The US has said such a decision must be made by the international community, not led by the US alone.
Though determined, the rebels are not as well-armed as Gaddafi's fighters.
In the rebel-controlled city of Benghazi, correspondents say rebels fear that, unless the tide turns, residents will believe Col Gaddafi's propaganda machine and throw their lot in with him.
On Tuesday, pro-Gaddafi forces intensified their counter-offensive on rebel-held towns in the country, using tanks and artillery and also launching air strikes.
Ras Lanuf remains one of Libya's main battlegrounds. In the west, casualties were reported in Zawiya, near Tripoli, as 50 tanks and 120 pick-up trucks launched attacks on the town, witnesses say.
Government warplanes bombed Ras Lanuf, in the east, for the second consecutive day on Tuesday.
There were reports of injuries among the rebel forces.
The rebel-controlled town of Misrata is also said to be under siege. On Monday, the government recaptured Bin Jawad, near Ras Lanuf. But the rebels are reported to have turned down an offer of talks with the Libyan leadership.
The UN says some 200,000 people have already fled the violence in Libya, which is now in its third week. Thousands more are desperate to flee via Egypt or Tunisia.
Aid agencies have launched an emergency operation to provide food and water for the refugees.