Libya: Citizen Reporting from the Battlefield

This post is part of our special coverage Libya Uprising 2011.

Videos continue to seep out from war-torn Libya as protesters battle Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces in a bid to overthrow his 42-year-old regime. Here is a selection of the latest videos taken by netizens on the frontlines of major cities where the battle for Libya is still fought.

The city of Ajdabiya, 160 kilometers south of Benghazi, was captured by Gaddafi forces in mid-March. Many of the 130,000 residents fled leaving behind a ghost town. The few remaining had to endure a harsh siege and daily bombardment, in a city deprived from water and electricity. The following video shows the destruction suffered by civilian areas in the city. When the cameraman asks a young man in the street how he managed to stay, he answers “We've been living is a state of fear” while raising his hand to display a Victory sign. (Video posted by benghazi17feb)

Early on Saturday, and following Coalition air-strikes against Gaddafi forces, pro-democracy fighters could enter the city again, delivering the opposition it's first major victory since the start of the enforcement of a No-Fly zone over Libya.

Az Zintan, 160 kilometers south-west of Tripoli, is the scene of an ongoing battle. Gaddafi forces have been shelling the city for days in an attempt to force pro-democracy fighters out. In the following video rebels claim victory against key positions of Gaddafi loyalists in the outskirts of the disputed city. (Video posted by zintan2011)

Misurata is the third largest city in Libya. It was captured by pro-democracy forces back in February prompting a ferocious riposte by pro-Gaddafi forces. The regime reportedly sent warships to the city's port, used heavy artillery and succeeded in breaching the city in mid-March. The situation in Misurata remains unclear. The bombardment of the city by Gaddafi loyalists continues although coalition planes are said to have forced an intermittent halt of the shelling. The following video demonstrates an aspect of the violence that the city has endured: a minaret is being targeted, taking multiple hits before it finally collapses (video posted by ibnomar2005):

Also from Misurata, this video which claims to show snipers posted on roofs (video posted by TheLibyaFreedom):

Benghazi in the East is the stronghold of pro-democracy forces who seized it in the early days of February 17 uprising. On March 18, Gaddafi troops attempt to retake the city was repelled by opposition forces but Militiamen loyal to the Libyan leader kept operating within the city by night. Citizens organized vigilante groups to patrol and guard neighborhoods as shown in the following video (video posted by AliveinLibya):

Tripoli has been the stronghold of the regime from the start of the Libyan uprising. State-run TV wants to depict it as a city fully loyal to Gaddafi. The following video however shows demonstrators clearly identifying themselves as inhabitants of the capital city shouting hostile slogans to the Libyan leader while sustained gun fire seems to be aimed at them. “They are not firing in the air” says one of them, while another person is heard asking the cameraman to keep on filming. Protesters can be heard chanting “No God but God, Gaddafi is the enemy of God … Where are the men of Tripoli?”. (Video posted by QuatchiCanada.)

UPDATE 3/29: This video is no longer available, a note on YouTube says: “This video has been removed by the user.”

This post is part of our special coverage Libya Uprising 2011.

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