Rebels ask for NATO ground troops in Libya

Rebels ask for NATO ground troops in Libya

A senior member of Misurata's governing council Nuri Abdullah Abdullahti sent an SOS as rebels and government forces fought street battles for control of main thoroughfare of the city which has survived more than six weeks of attacks by Gaddafi's forces.
The rebel plea came as al-Jazeera reported that hundreds of thousands of people were trapped in Libya's third largest town with food, fuel and medicines fast running out.
The residents said that while rebel control 50 per cent of the city, the rest was in the hands of Gaddafi's men.

As the stalemate continued in almost all battle fronts, Sail ul Islam, the Libyan strongman's son, claimed that his father's regime will prevail and that the government forces were poised to recapture Misurata as well as Ajdabiya.

And in a counter move, the rebel chief Mustafa Abdul Jalil met the French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, asking for stepped up Western air attacks to rout Gaddafi's armour and heavy firepower.

"We will not seek revenge once we recapture these rebel-held towns," Gaddafi's son said, branding opposition fighters defending Misurata as "drug dealers and al Qaeda militias."

But the city's port, BBC said, appear still to be firmly in the hands of rebels, providing a lifeline for trapped civilians and for arrival of badly needed food and medical supplies.
As rebel positions on the ground appeared bleak, France today joined Britain in sending military officers to Benghazi to help rebel forces reorganise and bolster the NATO air campaign that has failed to dent Gaddafi's firepower.

BBC said that small teams of French and British special forces had landed in Benghazi to give military advise to the rebel's transitional council.

Britain has announced sending up to 20 military advisers and reports today from Paris quoting Defence Ministry that France has sent the same number.Officials in London and Paris insisted that there was no move to send ground troops into Libya, but French officials said the UN Security Council should consider it.

"There will be a small number of liaison officers at the sides of (Libya's opposition governing council) to carry out liaison missions aimed at organising the protection of civilians," French government spokesman Francois Baroin said.

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