Libya crisis mapped

  • Saturday 19 March

    Western allies launch air strikes against Libyan targets after government forces began a fierce attack against the eastern rebel-held city of Benghazi despite having called a ceasefire 24 hours earlier.

    Summit: Western and Arab leaders met in Paris after the passing of UN Resolution 1973 which authorised military action to defend civilians in Libya. At the end of the meeting, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that "all necessary means" would be used to prevent further bloodshed.

    Air strikes: French aircraft fired the first shots in the western assault on Libya, attacking an armoured convoy west of Benghazi.

    US and UK submarines and warships later launched the first of a series of co-ordinated attacks against Libyan targets from the Mediterranearn. Overnight more than 110 Tomahawk missiles were fired from US and UK vessels.

    RAF Tornadoes also flew bombing missions from their base at RAF Marham in Norfolk.

  • Sunday 20 March

    The coalition forces launched a series of air strikes overnight against Libyan military and strategic targets.

    Air strikes: The United States and Britain attacked Libyan air defence, communications or command sites.

    The missiles were fired from two US destroyers, three submarines and a British Trafalgar-class submarine, based off the coast of Libya, in the Mediterranean.

    Air raids were also carried out by British Tornadoes, which took off from RAF Marham in Norfolk, and flew the 3,000-mile round trip to Libya and back again.

    US commanders said the strikes were "very effective" and had succeeded in crippling Gaddafi's air capability and allowing effective enforcement of a no-fly zone.

    It also appears to have halted the advance of the Libyan leader's forces on the rebel-held city of Benghazi.

  • Monday 21 March

    US and British forces fired 12 Tomahawk cruise missiles at targets overnight, including command and control operations, a Scud surface-to-surface missiles facility and an air defence site.

    Air strikes: French, Spanish, Italian, Danish and US warplanes took part in missions to enforce the no-fly zone over Benghazi.

    On the ground: Forces loyal to Gaddafi pulled back from the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. Advances against Ajdabiya and Misrata were stalled by the coalition attacks, according to a US national security official.

    Reports from Misrata say Gaddafi's troops fired on a crowd of unarmed people in the centre of the city and civilians were reported captured and brought to Misrata by Gaddafi's men, for human shields.

  • Tuesday 22 March

    Planes from the US-led coalition have been in action over Libya for a third consecutive night, firing missiles at targets in and around the capital, Tripoli.

    A US Air Force F-15 fighter crashed in Libya overnight after apparent engine failure. A US spokesman said the crew was safe.

    Air strikes: The Libyan government said a naval base east of Tripoli had been targeted, as well the southern town of Sabha, and a fishing village. A spokesman said the missile strikes had caused "numerous" civilian casualties. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said the coalition forces were going to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties.

    On the ground: Fighting between Gaddafi's forces and the rebels is continuing. In Misrata, a rebel-held city in western Libya, residents suffered another night of heavy shelling. There are also reports of fighting in Zintan, near the Tunisian border. In the east, pro-Gaddafi troops fired on opposition forces outside Ajdabiya.

  • Wednesday 23 March

    International air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi's forces are said to have succeeded in repelling an attack on the western, rebel held town of Misrata. Col Muammar Gaddafi's air force "no longer exists as a fighting force", the commander of British aircraft operating over Libya said. Air Vice Marshal Greg Bagwell said the allies could now operate "with near impunity" over the skies of Libya.

    Air strikes: There have been reports of air strikes in the area of the rebel-held city of Misrata, where fierce fighting is continuing betweeen Gaddafi's forces and rebel fighters. Loud explosions have been heard in and around the capital Tripoli.

    On the ground: The situation in Misrata is getting increasingly desperate with supplies of food, water and medicine running low. Government tanks shelled the city hospital, hours after being forced to pull back under air assault from international forces.

    And there are also reports of fierce fighting between rebels and pro-Gaddafi forces in the strategic eastern town of Ajdabiya. Fighting is also continuing for control of the rebel-held town of Zintan.

  • Thursday 24 March

    The international coalition has kept up air strikes on Libya, as fighting continues between rebels and pro-Gaddafi forces in a number of key cities.

    Air strikes: Loud explosions were heard in the Libyan capital Tripoli, and in the Tajoura region east of Tripoli. A French warplane destroyed a Libyan aircraft that had been flying in breach of the UN no-fly zone, just after it landed in Misrata.

    Late on Thursday British jets launched missiles at Libyan armoured vehicles that had been threatening civilians from Ajdabiya.

    On the ground: In Misrata, western Libya, fresh fighting has been reported. One doctor said pro-Gaddafi forces had killed more than 100 people and injured 1,300 in the past week.

    Further east in the strategically important city of Ajdabiya, residents described shelling, gunfire and houses on fire. One report said rebels were moving closer to the city but remained out-gunned by pro-Gaddafi forces.

  • Friday 25 March

    After a sixth night of airstrikes the UK foreign secretary said that there had been no confirmed evidence of civilian casualities and Nato announced that it would take command of the no-fly zone over Libya, in the coming days. The Pentagon said Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi had a "diminishing ability to command and sustain his forces on the ground" and was arming volunteers.

    In Misrata rebels say they have regained the port, but the city remains under siege as pro-Gaddafi forces continued shelling.

    In Ajdabiya coalition forces launched strikes against Libyan tanks. Rebels tried to mount an attack after the strikes but were repelled.

    Explosions in Tripoli have also been reported.

  • Saturday 26 March

    The rebels recapture the eastern frontline oil town of Ajdabiya from Gaddafi loyalists. It was the first town to be retaken by the rebels since the campaign to enforce a UN resolution began a week ago.

    A Libyan minister said government forces had pulled out after being bombed by allied aircraft. He accused them of directly aiding the rebels.

    A BBC correspondent in Ajdabiya saw government tanks and vehicles that had been destroyed and abandoned.

    Air attacks were also reported on Gaddafi forces in Misrata.

    And explosions rocked a suburb of Tripoli, with witnesses saying a military radar station was ablaze.

  • Sunday 27 March

    Rebels recaptured the oil town of Ras Lanuf, on the coast road leading towards the major Gaddafi stronghold of Sirte, after taking Brega and Uqayla earlier in the day.

    The Libyan government said coalition forces launched air strikes between Ajdabiya and Sirte, as well as in Sirte itself, resulting in "many" military and civilian lives being lost.

    But claims by rebels that Col Gaddafi's hometown had fallen appear to be premature.

    A BBC correspondent who visited the recaptured towns said that after days of stalemate the rebels have finally gathered some momentum - even if this only because they have had so much help from coalition air strikes that destroyed Col Gaddafi's tanks and artillery.

  • Monday 28 March

    Pro-Gaddafi forces have used heavy weaponry to check a rebel advance on the coastal city of Sirte, the Libyan leader's birthplace and a key target for westward-advancing rebels.

    Anti-Gaddafi forces had made rapid progress westwards from their stronghold in Benghazi in recent days - greatly aided by international air strikes.

    Rebels have been forced to retreat from the town of Nawfaliya, 120km (75 miles) from Sirte, to Bin Jawad, some 30km further east.

    Government forces to the west of Bin Jawad have been firing artillery rockets at rebels just to its east. The rebels returned fire with Katyusha rockets.

    Ships from the US Sixth Fleet attacked three Libyan ships that had been firing indiscriminately at merchant ships in the port of Misrata.

    Rebels said tanks and troops loyal to Col Gaddafi had swept through the city 210km east of Tripoli, firing shells as they attacked, AFP reported.

  • Tuesday, 29 March

    Pro-Gaddafi forces used heavy weaponry to check a rebel advance on the coastal city of Sirte, the Libyan leader's birthplace and a key target for westward-advancing rebels.

    Rebels have been forced to retreat from the town of Nawfaliya, 120km (75 miles) from Sirte, and from Bin Jawad, some 30km further east.

  • Wednesday 30 March

    Rebels pulled out of the key oil town of Ras Lanuf, as well as Bin Jawad and Uqayla and are retreating from Brega after Col Gaddafi's forces advanced further east, bombarding rebel positions with rockets.

    In Misrata, fierce fighting is continuing. One doctor says more than 140 people have been killed.

    Coalition air strikes are again reported to have hit the capital, Tripoli, overnight. Reports said Gaddafi's compound was targeted as well as military targets in the suburb of Tajura.

    British RAF Tornado aircraft carried out air strikes on Misrata destroying a number of military targets.

    It was also reported that French aircraft had conducted air strikes on an anti-aircraft base 20km south of Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte.

    Airstrikes were also reported near Brega .

  • Thursday 31 March

    Rebels continue to pull back from recently captured towns of Ras Lanuf and Bin Jawad along the eastern coast. A column of retreating rebel fighters came under heavy fire between Brega and Ajdabiya.

    The rebel-held town of Misrata is still reportedly coming under attack from pro-Gaddafi troops.

    Nato took sole command of international air operations over Libya. It said it had the means to enforce the UN resolution.

    The alliance also said it was investigating reports of civilian casualties in Western air strikes on Tripoli.

    A senior Vatican official in Tripoli, said witnesses had reported 40 civilians had been killed in strikes by Western forces on the city.

  • Friday 1 April

    At least 13 people are reported to have been killed when a coalition plane flying over Libya fired on a rebel convoy between Brega and Ajdabiya on Friday, the rebels say.

    A rebel spokesman said it was an "unfortunate accident" which happened when the rebels advanced on Brega during the air strikes

    Earlier, the US said air attacks had destroyed about a quarter of the Libyan government's military capabilities.

    One report said there was heavy fighting around Brega, east of Tripoli in the morning.

    It is not clear where the front line is or who controls Brega, but rebels were reported to be moving heavier weaponry towards the oil town and were trying to organise themselves more efficiently.

    Rebels said there were more officers on the front line and civilians without heavy weapons were being prevented from getting through checkpoints.

  • Sunday 3 April

    For a fourth day, government troops and rebels have battled for control of the eastern oil town of Brega.

    Government forces have also attacked rebels in the towns of Zintan and Yafran, to the south-west of Tripoli.

    Libya's deputy foreign minister Abdelati Obeidi travelled to Athens in Greece where he held talks with the country's leader, George Papandreou. He said he was looking for a political solution to the crisis and did not believe it could be solved by military means.

    Government troops are reported to be holding ground near the university in Brega, but are said to be reluctant to engage the rebels because of the risk of further air strikes.

    Rebel leaders in Benghazi have appealed for new Nato air strikes, as well as weapons and military training to be provided by foreign governments.

    They have acknowledged that firing in the air through lack of discipline could have provoked the air strike by Nato on their own forces on Friday.

  • Tuesday 5 April

    Nato air strikes have been reported against pro-Gaddafi forces near the oil town of Brega.

    The air strikes destroyed two in a convoy of eight vehicles, forcing the others back into the centre of Brega.

    The rebels are said to have begun loading a tanker with some one million barrels of oil, bound for Qatar. The small Gulf state has recognised Libya's rebels as the country's legitimate government and agreed to market oil from the rebel areas.

    Exports of oil have dried up since the crisis in Libya began some two months ago.

    Nato says it flew 155 sorties, 66 of which were strike sorties, where targets were identified but not necessarily fired upon.

  • Wednesday 6 April

    At least 13 people are reported to have been killed when a coalition plane flying over Libya fired on a rebel convoy between Brega and Ajdabiya.

    A rebel spokesman said it was an "unfortunate accident" which happened when the rebels advanced on Brega during the air strikes

    Earlier, the US said air attacks had destroyed about a quarter of the Libyan government's military capabilities.

    One report said there was heavy fighting around Brega, east of Tripoli in the morning.

    It is not clear where the front line is or who controls Brega, but rebels were reported to be moving heavier weaponry towards the oil town.

    Rebels said there were more officers on the front line and civilians without heavy weapons were being prevented from getting through checkpoints.

    Nato said it conducted 164 sorties of which 73 were strike sorties where aircraft identified appropriate targets, but did not necessarily open fire.

  • Thursday 7 April

    Nato planes mistakenly struck a rebel tank position killing at least five.

    The BBC's Wyre Davies reported chaotic scenes on the outskirts of Ajdabiya, with rebel forces in retreat.

    It was the third such incident in recent days involving international forces deployed to protect Libyan civilians.

    One rebel commander told the BBC he saw at least four missiles land among rebel fighters.

    According to NATO, the alliance flew 155 sorties of which 54 were strike sorties where aircraft identify appropriate targets, but do not necessarily fire on them each time.

  • Friday 8 April

    Nato says it strongly regrets the loss of life after a friendly fire attack yesterday (7 April) on rebel tanks in eastern Libya, in which at least four people lost their lives.

    The rebels hit in Thursday's attack had been moving tanks, armoured vehicles and rocket launchers, near the front line between Ajdabiya and Brega in more than 30 transporters.

    This is the third so-called friengly fire incident since Nato took over the air operation more than a week ago.

    Pro-Gaddafi forces are said to be advancing into the eastern suburbs of the rebel-held city of Misrata.

  • Saturday 9/Sunday 10 April

    Fierce fighting has been reported around the western rebel-held city of Misrata and, in the east, around the rebel-held city of Ajdabiya.

    Members of the African Union have been meeting the Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to thrash out the details of a peace plan.

    They say the government has accepted the plan, which they will now put to the rebels. But the rebels say they won't accept a truce, unless Gaddafi steps down and his forces withdraw.

    Nato says its planes destroyed 25 government tanks in Ajdabiya on Sunday alone.

    Meanwhile in Misrata, the only city in western Libya controlled by the rebels, their spokesman told Reuters news agency that five people had been killed and more than 20 injured in a bombardment by pro-Gaddafi forces.

    Nato says it carried out 133 sorties on Saturday, 56 of which were strike sorties. On Sunday, it carried out 154 sorties, 70 of which were strike sorties, where a target is identified although not necessarily fired at.

  • Monday 11 April

    More fierce fighting has been reported on the ground around the western rebel-held city of Misrata.

    Rebels in Misrata said Gaddafi's forces had fired Russian-made Grad rockets into the city, where conditions for civilians are increasingly desperate.

    The African Union delegation arrived in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, to a rough reception, with demonstrators shouting "Gaddafi out" and mobbing their vehicles, the BBC's Jon Leyne reported from the city.

    The rebels later rejected the peace proposal, saying they would not accept any deal unless there was a guarantee that Gaddafi would step down from power.

    Nato has said air strikes will continue as long as civilians are under threat. It flew 158 sorties on 11 April, 59 of which were strike sorties.

  • Tuesday 12 April

    Nato aircraft have destroyed five tanks belonging to pro-Gaddafi forces on the outskirts of the rebel-held city of Misrata.

    According to a report released late on 12 April, the tanks were threatening the civilian population in the city.

    Earlier, rebel fighters said they had beaten back two separate ground offensives.

    Fierce fighting is also continuing around the rebel-held town of Ajdabiya in the east of the country. Gaddafi's forces have been bombarding the western entrance to the town, which is the gateway to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

    France and Britain have criticised Nato and called for more air attacks to stop Gaddafi bombarding civilians.

    British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Nato must intensify attacks, while French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Nato needed to be more assertive in its operations in Libya.

  • Wednesday 13 April

    At least 13 people are reported to have been killed when a coalition plane flying over Libya fired on a rebel convoy between Brega and Ajdabiya on Friday, the rebels say.

    A rebel spokesman said it was an "unfortunate accident" which happened when the rebels advanced on Brega during the air strikes

    Earlier, the US said air attacks had destroyed about a quarter of the Libyan government's military capabilities.

    One report said there was heavy fighting around Brega, east of Tripoli in the morning.

    It is not clear where the front line is or who controls Brega, but rebels were reported to be moving heavier weaponry towards the oil town and were trying to organise themselves more efficiently.

    Rebels said there were more officers on the front line and civilians without heavy weapons were being prevented from getting through checkpoints.

  • Thursday 14 April

    Fighting is continuing in the rebel-held city of Misrata in western Libya. It has been besieged by pro-Gaddafi forces for almost two months.

    A rebel spokesman told Reuters news agency that an early morning rocket attack by Col Gaddafi's forces had killed 23 people on Thursday.

    In a BBC interview, Hardi, a rebel leader in the city, urged Nato to carry out more strikes.

    Airstrikes were also reported to have taken place near to Brega, Tripoli and al Aziziya.

  • Friday 15 April

    More than a hundred rockets are reported to have been fired into the besieged western city of Misrata - killing at least eight people.

    Medical staff said they were struggling to cope with the number of civilians being injured in daily attacks by pro-government forces.

    The rebels have warned of an impending massacre in the city unless Nato intensifies its air strikes. Aid agencies say the humanitarian situation has become critical.

    Libyan state TV reported Nato air strikes had hit the cities of Sirte - Col Gaddafi's birthplace - and al Aziziya, south of the capital Tripoli.

  • Monday, 18 April

    The rebel-held city of Misrata continues to come under rocket attack from Gaddafi's forces. On Sunday, six civilians were reported to have died and at least 47 more injured in a barrage of rocket fire, according to opponents of the government.

    The shelling of Misrata has also become the focus of concerns over the international aid operation. The UK's international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell, announced that the UK will fund the evacuation by boat of 5,000 migrant workers currently trapped in the city.

    In the east, Gaddafi's forces have mounted another attack on the rebel-held town of Ajdabiya, with reports that some rebels were seen leaving the town for nearby Benghazi.

  • Tuesday 19 April

    The apparent stalemate in Misrata, where rebel and government troops are engaged in street battles across the city centre, has led to talk among Nato countries of supplying new equipment and tactics to the rebels.

    The UK has said it will send a team of military officers to Benghazi to advise on the Libyan rebels' military organisation, communications and logistics. Foreign Secretary William Hague said the UK would not arm the opposition or assist in military operations, though non-lethal support, including body armour and satellite phones has already been provided.

    Evacuation of both Libyans and foreign workers from the port of Misrata continues, with over 1,000 people taken by ferry to rebel stronghold of Benghazi in the east.

    Meanwhile, the United Nations' food agency has started moving food supplies into western Libya through a newly established humanitarian corridor. Food rations sufficent to feed nearly 50,000 people for 30 days will be delivered and distributed by the Libyan Red Crescent, to civilians in western cities, including Tripoli.

  • Wednesday 20 April

    Two photojournalists have been killed and two others injured in Misrata. Briton Tim Hetherington, 40, and US photographer Chris Hondros, 41, were hit by a mortar attack while covering the fighting around Tripoli Street.

    Gaddafi forces have continued their assault on the city and Misrata's hospital is struggling to cope with the injured, receiving more than 100 casualties on Wednesday, the vast majority of them civilians.

    Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, highlighted reports of a cluster bomb exploding "just a few hundred metres from Misrata hospital and other reports suggesting at least two medical clinics have been hit by mortars or sniper fire".

    The US has confirmed that it will send the Libyan rebels up to $25m in surplus government stock, including medical supplies, uniforms, boots, tents, personal protective gear and meals. The British, French and Italian governments will each send teams of about 10 military advisors to the rebels to improve organisation and communications.

  • Friday 22 April

    Rebel forces said they had driven Col Gaddafi's forces from buildings along Misrata's Tripoli Street, from where snipers had been shooting at all who ventured out - including women and children.

    Libya's Deputy Foreign Minister, Khaled Kaim, said the army might stop fighting in Misrata and withdraw because of the threat of further Nato air strikes.

    He said local tribes would instead try to negotiate with the rebels, and if that failed, the tribes would fight them.

    But Col Ahmed Bani, a military spokesmen for the Benghazi-based rebel Transitional National Council, later told the BBC this was "misinformation" and that Col Gaddafi would never pull out of Misrata as it was too important too him.

  • Saturday 23/Sunday 24 April

    Forces loyal to the Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi bombarded areas of the western city of Misrata on Sunday, despite the regime saying it had halted attacks to allow local tribes to negotiate with rebels.

    Libyan rebels in Misrata said forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi had bombarded the centre and three residential areas, killing at least six people.

    On Saturday, Nato aircraft carried out more air strikes on targets around the capital Tripoli. Foreign journalists reported seeing jets and hearing three strong explosions late in the evening.

    The US confirmed the first strike by one of its unmanned drone aircraft over Libya, destroying a government rocket launcher near Misrata.

    A ship also docked in Benghazi, the rebels' stronghold in eastern Libya, carrying 900 evacuees, most of them from Misrata.

  • Monday 25/Tuesday 26 April

    A Nato air strike badly damaged buildings in Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi's sprawling Bab al-Azizia compound in Tripoli on Monday.

    Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said the air strike - which he described as "an act of terrorism" - killed three people and wounded 45. Col Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, condemned the "cowardly" attack.

    A number of blasts were also heard elsewhere in the city and were among the biggest in the capital so far.

    Monday also saw further fighting in the rebel-held city of Misrata, which has been besieged by government forces for two months.

  • Wednesday 27 April

    Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have started firing mortar rounds at a district in the west of the city of Misrata.

    According to a rebel spokesman, it was an intense bombardment. Previously government forces have concentrated their attacks on the rebel-controlled port in the east of the city.

    Earlier, the rebels said Nato air strikes overnight had helped them to push back Gaddafi's forces from the port.

    A ship carrying aid used the lull in the shelling to dock. It was due to return to Benghazi, taking wounded rebels and migrant workers.

    Gaddafi's forces have also been pounding the rebel-held town of Zintan.

    Nato says one of its F16 fighter-bomers crashed on landing at an airbase in southern Italy, after completing a mission over Libya.

    The pilot ejected safely after the plane came down at Signoella in western Sicily.

  • Thursday 28 April

    A rebel commander and witnesses told reporters that at least 11 rebel fighters were killed in a Nato air strike in the besieged port city of Misrata on Wednesday.

    Survivors quoted by US broadcaster CNN said 11 fighters had been killed and two injured in the strike, while a rebel commander, Abdullah Mohammed, told the New York Times 12 had died and five had been injured in what appeared to be the same attack.

    Mr Mohammed said rebels had at first been reluctant to confirm Nato's deadly mistake, out of fear it would discourage Nato from mounting further strikes. Nato refused to confirm or deny the reports.

    Meanwhile, intense fighting continued in Misrata on Thursday. An unnamed doctor told Reuters seven rebel fighters had been killed and four injured when they were hit by artillery fire and rockets from pro-Gaddafi forces at a checkpoint near the front line.

    The western mountain city of Zintan was also bombarded with missiles, according to rebel sources quoted by Reuters.

  • Saturday 30 April/Sunday 1 May

    The Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi escaped a Nato missile strike that killed one of his sons and three young grandchildren, a government spokesman said.

    Moussa Ibrahim told reporters the attack struck the house of Gaddafi's younger son, Saif al-Arab, when the Libyan leader and his wife were inside.

    Heavy bursts of gunfire were heard in Tripoli after the air strike, which came hours after Gaddafi called for a ceasefire and negotiations with Nato powers to end the six-week bombing campaign.

    The Nato air strike led to angry protests in the capital, Tripoli, on Sunday 1 May.

    A BBC team in Tripoli said the British embassy was completely burnt out. Angry crowds also targeted UN buildings and foreign missions.

    The Libyan ambassador to the UK was given 24 hours to leave.

  • 19 March
  • 20 March
  • 21 March
  • 22 March
  • 23 March
  • 24 March
  • 25 March
  • 26 March
  • 27 March
  • 28 March
  • 29 March
  • 30 March
  • 31 March
  • 1 April
  • 3 April
  • 5 April
  • 6 April
  • 7 April
  • 8 April
  • 10 April
  • 11 April
  • 12 April
  • 13 April
  • 14 April
  • 15 April
  • 18 April
  • 19 April
  • 20 April
  • 22 April
  • 24 April
  • 26 April
  • 27 April
  • 28 April
  • 30 April

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