Muammar Gaddafi’s forces captured the last rebel-held town west of Tripoli after a heavy barrage of tank and artillery fire Tuesday as regime forces pressed forward in the east.
The victory in Zwara, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the Tunisian border, solidifies Gaddafi’s hold in his western stronghold, reversing gains made by rebels in several cities early in the uprising against his rule that began on 15 February.
Gaddafi’s gains in recent days have increased pressure on the US and other Western powers to intervene to stop the bloodshed.
The Obama administration on Monday held its first high-level talks with the Libyan opposition and introduced a liaison to deal full time with their ranks. But it remained undecided about exactly how much support to lend a group it still knows little about while turmoil and uncertainty increase across the Arab world.