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Rebels oust Gaddafi son forces

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 22.08.11

Tripoli, Aug. 21 (AP): Hundreds of rebels danced and cheered after they overran a major military base that defends Tripoli today, driving out forces led by Muammar Gaddafi’s son.

The fighters hauled off truckloads of weapons and advanced towards the capital in pickup trucks and even on foot, as the trappings of the regime crumbled fast.

Inside Tripoli, there was a second day of widespread clashes between what the opposition called “sleeping cells” of rebels who are rising up and Gaddafi loyalists. There were also many anti-government protests.

Gaddafi’s 27-year-old son Khamis commands the 32nd Brigade, also known as the Khamis Brigade, one of the best trained and equipped units in the Libyan military.

Inside the base, hundreds of rebels cheered wildly and danced, raising the rebel flag on the front gate of a large wall enclosing the compound. They seized large stores of weapons, driving away with truckloads of whatever arms they could get their hands on. One of the rebels carried off a tube of grenades, while another carted off two mortars.

“This is the wealth of the Libyan people that he was using against us,” he said, pointing to his haul. “Now we will use it against him and any other dictator who goes against the Libyan people.”

Mahmoud al-Ghwei, 20, and unarmed, said he had just come along with a friend for the ride into Tripoli with the advancing forces.

“It’s a great feeling. For all these years, we wanted freedom and Gaddafi kept it from us. Now we’re going to get rid of Gaddafi and get our freedom,” he said.

Inside the large, open compound filled with eucalyptus trees were three gigantic wooden crates labelled “Libyan Armed Forces”. They were loaded with large-calibre ammunition for anti-aircraft guns.

The rebels were busy loading two huge trucks with boxes full of ammunition. One carried armfuls of RPGs.

Rebels yesterday said that they had launched their first attack on Tripoli in co-ordination with Nato and gunbattles and mortar rounds rocked the city.

Assad poll forecast

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said today he expected a parliamentary election to be held in February 2012 after a series of reforms that would let political groups other than his Baath party take part.       

“The expected time for having the parliamentary election is February 2012,” he said during an interview broadcast on Syrian state television.