US-led airstrikes kill dozens in Libya

Tripoli, April 01: Dozens have died from US-led airstrikes in Libya as running battles persist between revolutionary forces and government troops on the outskirts of Brega.

Opposition forces have returned fire with rockets and rocket-propelled grenades to shelling by forces loyal to ruler Muammer Gaddafi in the eastern oil city of Brega. This is as the opposition tries to prevent the government from retaking nearby Ajdabiya The Guardian reported.

The clashes come one day after Gaddafi’s forces recaptured the eastern oil town of Ras Lanuf and forced the opposition to flee further east.

On Wednesday, Libyan’s Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa left his post and defected to London. Tripoli’s government spokesman says Koussa resigned to undergo medical treatment in Tunisia.

British Foreign Minister William Hague says London has not offered immunity to Koussa and the British authorities are now debriefing him.

NATO is now in full command from the US of all Libyan operations. NATO’s chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said arming the rebels against Gaddafi’s regime is beyond the scope of the Western military alliance’s operations.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also rejected the idea of arming the revolutionary forces.

Reports say that US and British agents are scoping out targets for airstrikes and assessing how to assist revolutionary forces.

This comes as French diplomatic representatives and a US diplomatic envoy have met with the opposition leadership in the eastern city of Benghazi. The exact topic of the talks remains unclear.