The fight to control Libya


Libyan rebels advance toward Gaddafi’s home town

Watch video:Libyan rebels advance toward Gaddafi’s home town

March 25-28

In a reversal of the losses over the past two weeks, rebels recover strategic towns in the east, including Ajdabiya, key oil centers Brega and Ras Lanuf, and Bin Jawwad. The Western coalition continues to bomb Tripoli and Sirte, Gaddafi's strongholds.

Clinton calls for united action on Libya

Watch video:Clinton calls for united action on Libya

March 29-30

Rebel forces are pushed farther eastward, losing the ground they gained over the weekend with the aid of allied airstrikes. At a conference in London Tuesday, leaders of 40 countries decide to increase pressure on Gaddafi with continued airstrikes and to provide humanitarian aid to Libyan civilians.

Anti-Gaddafi forces firing at random

Watch video:Anti-Gaddafi forces firing at random

March 31-April 1

The rebels are pushed out of the oil town of Brega, and thirteen of them are accidentally killed by a Western airstrike. The head of the opposition’s interim government in Benghazi says Friday that the rebels would accept a cease-fire if Gaddafi's forces would pull out of the cities they have been attacking.

April 2-4

Fighting in the east reaches a stalemate near Brega, and violence against civilians continues in Misurata. Turkey and Greece seek to broker a diplomatic solution to the crisis, and Italy becomes the third country after France and Qatar to recognize the opposition council as Libya's legitamate government.

More fighting around Libyan port of Brega

Watch video: More fighting around Libyan port of Brega

April 5-8

A NATO commander on Friday acknowledges that allied warplanes may have mistakenly bombed rebels outside Brega Thursday, killing at least five people. Western diplomats say on Wednesday that Gaddafi's forces are using human shields to prevent NATO planes from striking.

April 9-11

Gaddafi accepts a “political road map” and ceasefire agreement proposed by an African Union delegation on Sunday, but the opposition council in Benghazi rejects the plan on Monday, saying that they will not agree to anything that does not include Gaddafi's ouster. Fighting is centered around the strategic city of Ajdabiya, with rebel fighters becoming increasingly dependent on NATO airstrikes.

More fighting around Libyan port of Brega

Watch video: New Libya battles, France urges NATO to do more

April 12-14

Officials from France and Britain complain that other NATO allies, including the United States, need to increase air strikes and commit more resources to protecting civlians in places like Misurata, where hundreds of people have been killed and a humanitarian crisis is escalating. U.S. officials play down the rift at a NATO summit on Thursday.

April 15-16

Libyan government troops assault Misurata with rockets and tanks, targeting the port and a dairy plant. Government officials deny shelling the city, saying that troops are taking defensive actions.

Rebels in Misurata say that Gaddafi's forces have been using cluster bombs, which a government spokesman denies.

Residents of the city criticize NATO for failing to halt the assault.

In eastern Libya, anti-Gadhafi forces advanced on the strategic oil town of Brega.

Gaddafi forces shelling rebel-held towns

Watch video: Gaddafi forces shelling rebel-held towns

April 17-18

Government troops push into Misurata, launching mortar rounds and rocket-propelled grenades.

The Libyan government promises to allow the United Nations to open a humanitarian corridor into the city.

Gaddafi's troops shell Ajdabiya.

April 19-20

Great Britain says it will send military advisors to help Libya's rebels. France states that it will intensify airstrikes in Libya. The U.S. pledges $25 million in non-lethal assistance to the rebels.

City officials in Misurata request help from foreign troops, as the city's food, water and gas grow scarce. Government troops target the port, power stations, water tanks and food storage units with rockets, mortars and artillery fire.

April 21

President Obama approves use of drones in Libya. Journalists Tim Hetherington and and Chris Hondros are reported killed in Misurata. Libyan rebels claim control of a post on the Tunisian border, forcing government soldiers to seek refuge in Tunisia.

April 22

Libyan rebels claimed that they recaptured the center of the besieged western city of Misurata, partly thanks to weeks of NATO airstrikes. Rebels said they hoped deployment of U.S. armed Predator drones could help them drive Moammar Gaddafi's forces out of the city completely.

Airstrikes hit Gaddafi compound

Watch video: Airstrikes hit Gaddafi compound

April 23-27

Rebels celebrate the retreat of Gaddafi's forces from the center of Misurata Saturday, but the government troops bombard the city again on Sunday. They later position themselves outside of the city and focus attacks on the port area while trying to avoid NATO airstrikes. Gaddafi's government accuses NATO of trying at assasinate him after coalition foces strike his complex in Tripoli Monday.

April 28-May 4

Gaddafi says on April 29 that if NATO will "stop its planes," he would be ready for a ceasefire and negotiations. The next day, a NATO strike on a house kills his youngest son and three of his grandchildren. Government forces continue shelling in Misurata and target an aid ship evacuating migrant workers and wounded civiliians at the port.

May 5-8

An opposition leader says on May 6 that rebels are planning to use aid money designated for reconstruction and humanitarian needs to buy weapons from the Italian government. The Italian foreign minister denies the claim. Human rights group Amnesty International issues a report alleging that the Libyan army committed war crimes against humanity by targeting and killing civilians in Misurata. Over the weekend, government forces bomb fuel depots in Misurata, threatening key sources of electricity and fuel.

NATO strikes topple buildings in Tripoli

Watch video: NATO strikes topple buildings in Tripoli

May 9-10

The U.N. refugee agency and the International Organization for Migration say Monday that a boat carrying hundreds of refugees sank off the coast of Tripoli last week, but details, including how many died, are unclear. As the government assault on rebel-held Misurata continues Tuesday, NATO steps up airstikes on "command-and-control" targets in Tripoli.

May 19

The Libyan government says that it would pull its army out of cities if rebels did the same, while a spokesman called President Obama "delusional" for saying in a speech that Moammar Gaddafi's 41-year rule over Libya would soon come to an end. The government's offer, which the spokesman described as going further than it had before, was made on the condition that NATO stop its attacks on Libyan military targets, and it remained unclear how viable the proposal was.

May 23-24

NATO forces launch their most aggressive airstrike to date on Gaddafi's compound early Tuesday morning, rocking the country's capital with at least 15 explosions. A Libyan government spokesman says at least three were killed and dozens were injured. In a show of support for the rebel National Transitional Council, the United State's top Middle East envoy announces on Tuesday that the rebel government would open an office in Washington DC.

May 30

The rebel administration that controls much of eastern Libya distributes guidelines on how its fighters should treat prisoners of war, following a string of allegations that rebels have engaged in unlawful arrests, mistreated captives and killed sub-Saharan Africans wrongly accused of being mercenaries. The rebels are holding about 300 prisoners, including 10 foreigners, according to the top legal affairs official in the newly created National Transitional Council, Salwa Fawzi al-Deghali.

May 31

Libyan rebels reject a reported truce offer from Moammar Gaddafi. Word of the offer comes from South African President Jacob Zuma, who met with Gaddafi the day before.

June 2

NATO blasts Tripoli with a series of air strikes, sending shuddering booms through the city. A NATO statement says the attacks hit military vehicles and ammunition depots, a surface-to-air missile launcher and a fire control radar system. The air strikes rain down hours after NATO and its partners say they will extend the Libyan mission for 90 more days in support of the rebels fighting the regime of ruler Moammar Gaddafi.

June 4

The U.S. House of Representatives rebukes President Obama for failing "to provide Congress with a compelling rationale" for the military campaign in Libya but stopped short of demanding he withdraw U.S. forces from the fight. By a vote of 268 to 145, the House approves a resolution criticizing Obama for not seeking congressional authorization for the 76-day-old campaign against Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi.

June 8

NATO rains scores of bombs on the Libyan capital in by far its heaviest attack on Tripoli since its campaign began, but Moammar Gaddafi responds swiftly with a vow that his people will never surrender. The Libyan government says 60 bombs fell on the city, killing 31 "soldiers, guards and civilians." Reporters in Tripoli count more than 40 explosions.

June 10

Western and Middle Eastern countries begin opening the aid spigots for Libya's beleaguered rebels, approving measures that will immediately send at least $1 billion to the opposition and promising much larger sums in the weeks ahead. This comes a day after the chief financial adviser to Libya's opposition movement urged Western countries to make good on promises, saying, "Our people our dying."

June 12

From the east and west, resurgent rebels battle Libyan government forces at flashpoints along the Mediterranean coast, rebel commanders report. The government says their victory claims are "wishful reporting." Insurgents had reported fighting street by street to retake the Mediterranean port city of Zawiya, 18 miles west of Tripoli, a prize that would put them within striking distance of the capital and cut off one of Moammar Gaddafi's last supply routes from Tunisia.

June 13

Government artillery rains down on rebel forces but fails to stop their advance into key ground west of their stronghold at Libya's major port. As fighting rages for a fourth day, Germany's foreign minister pays a surprise visit to the rebel's de facto capital. The German foreign ministry says Guido Westerwelle is meeting with the Transitional National Council to deepen relations with the rebels and their nascent government.

June 14

An apparent NATO airstrike hits an area near Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's compound in the capital, as military leaders voice concerns about sustaining the operations if the alliance mission drags on. A column of gray smoke could be seen rising from the area around Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound shortly before dawn. The concussion from the blast was felt at a hotel where journalists stay in the capital.

June 16

NATO airstrikes pound the area near Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's compound again before dawn. Russia's envoy to Libya later turns up at a bombing site while on a visit to Tripoli for talks on ending the civil war. Gaddafi's son tells an Italian newspaper that his father will not go into exile, but elections under international supervision can offer a way out. The U.S. quickly dismisses the idea and insists Gaddafi must leave.

June 20

NATO says a coalition bomb misfired into a residential neighborhood of Tripoli, killing civilians. Libyan officials say the blast flattened a two-story house, killing two children and seven adults. Sunday's bombing marks the first time NATO acknowledges that a military mishap has resulted in civilian deaths in Libya, and it comes a day after the alliance confirmes that last week it accidentally struck a vehicle carrying allied rebel fighters.

June 21

NATO acknowledges that it has lost contact with one of its surveillance drone helicopters, as Libyan state television broadcast pictures of what it said was an alliance attack helicopter that has been shot down. A NATO spokesman said that an "unmanned autonomous helicopter drone" lost radio contact at 9:20 a.m. local time.

June 23

Moammar Gaddafi lashes out at NATO over civilian casualties and says Libya is prepared to fight on, calling the alliance "murderers" after an airstrike on a close associate's family home. A few hundred supporters, most of them women, gather in Tripoli's Green Square hours after the speech, vowing to defend the Libyan leader.

June 27

Judges from the International Criminal Court issue a warrant for the arrest of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, his son and a top military intelligence chief, calling for them to to stand trial for crimes against humanity in connection with a violent crackdown on anti-government protesters this year.

June 28

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, urges Moammar Gaddafi's own aides to arrest the Libyan leader and turn him over for trial on murder and persecution charges -- or risk prosecution themselves. The court has issued arrest warrants for the Libyan leader, his son Seif and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Sanoussi for crimes against humanity, but the court has no police force to detain them.

June 29

French officials announce that they have armed rebels in Libya, in an attempt to break the stalemate in a conflict that has stretched longer than many policymakers anticipated. France dropped guns, rocket-propelled grenades and other munitions in the western Nafusa mountains of Libya in early June to help rebel forces who were at the time under threat from the Libyan military, a French military spokesman tells news services.

June 30

The daughter of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi says both direct and indirect negotiations are being held between her father's authorities and Libyan rebels. Aicha Gaddafi doesn't elaborate during the France-2 network interview aired on French television. But she adds to end the spilling of Libyan blood "we are ready to ally ourselves with the devil, with the rebel army."

July 1

With Libya's conventional forces stretched thin along front lines east and west of Tripoli, government officials say they are scrambling to train volunteers, many of them women, for the looming fight for the capital and other Gaddafi-held areas. Women have long played central roles in Libya's security and intelligence agencies, but the four-month-old conflict appears likely to turn them into combatants more forcefully than ever.

July 6

Rebel fighters in western Libya seize two mountain towns from government troops, while the embattled regime of Moammar Gaddafi says it will set up a special court to try rebel leaders for treason. The rebel advances mark small progress in a largely deadlocked civil war.

July 7

Rebel victories in Libya's western mountains are shifting the focus of efforts to topple Moammar Gaddafi's regime, as fighters close in on cities that control the government's main supply routes. The rapid gains in the west come in sharp contrast to battlefields in the east, where the front lines have remained largely stagnant for months.

July 13

Libyan rebels fighting to oust Moammar Gaddafi have looted shops and clinics and torched the homes of suspected regime supporters in some of the towns they seized in the country's western mountains, Human Rights Watch says. The findings come as the rebels enlarge the area under their control in the west and inched closer to a key supply route to Tripoli.

July 15

The United States grants Libyan rebel leaders full diplomatic recognition as the governing authority of Libya, a move that could give the cash-strapped rebels access to more than $30 billion in frozen assets that once belonged to Gaddafi.

July 28

Gen. Abdul Fattah Younis and two other senior opposition commanders had been fatally shot in Benghazi by assailants, creating chaos among the fractious coalition trying to overthrow Moammar Gaddafi.

July 31

Libyan rebels battling on multiple fronts attacked and held ground Sunday in committed fighting that reached from a besieged oil refinery city in the east to the rugged desert mountain towns in the west. The success of the past few days and the still tenuous rebel advances in the mountains come at a price, as opposition commanders here worry that their lines are stretched too thin, leaving their rebel cadres composed of dentists, shop clerks and college students vulnerable to counterattack.

Aug. 11

Libyan rebels battling Moammar Gaddafi's troops along the country's Mediterranean coast have claimed they captured part of Brega, a strategic port city that has repeatedly changed hands in the 6-month-old civil war.

Aug. 19

For months, rebels fighting to oust Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi have been predicting the fall of the capital, Tripoli. Now, after weeks of significant gains, they have begun talking openly about plans to maintain security if he is deposed.

Aug. 20

Libyan rebels overran a major military base defending the capital as part of a surprising and speedy leap forward, after six months of largely deadlocked civil war. By nightfall, they had advanced more than 20 miles to the edge of Gaddafi's last major bastion of support.

Aug. 21

Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's four-decade-long rule over the country was crumbling at breakneck speed as hundreds of rebel fighters swept into Tripoli and took control Monday of the symbolically significant Green Square in the heart of the city.

Aug. 23

Rebel forces overran the heart of Moammar Gaddafi's fortified Bab al-Aziziya compound, putting them in charge of the fugitive Libyan leader's power base and signaling that the battle for Tripoli may be inching closer to a conclusion. One of Gaddafi's sons, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, appeared in public earlier in the day to refute rebel assertions that he had been captured.

Aug. 29

Gaddafi’s wife, daughter Aisha and sons Mohammed and Hannibal flee across the border into Algeria.

Sept. 12

Interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil preached forgiveness, reconciliation and unity in his first address since the fall of Moammar Gaddafi.

Sept. 20

President Obama calls for the last of Gaddafi's loyalist forces to surrender as he announces the return of the U.S. ambassador to Tripoli.

Sept. 27

NATO says the new regime has control of Libya’s stockpile of chemical and nuclear weapons and urges the transitional council to destroy them.

Oct. 13

Transitional government forces say they control all of Sirte, Gaddafi’s home town and last stronghold, except one neighborhood where Gaddafi forces are contained.

Oct. 16

Interim government commanders said that the other major Gaddafi holdout besides Sirte, the smaller city of Bani Walid, had fallen. In Tripoli, the capital, bulldozers set to work Sunday tearing down the walls of Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound, one of the most potent symbols of his reign.

Oct. 19

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the highest-ranking official to visit Libya since Gaddafi’s ouster in August, tours Tripoli and pledges U.S. supoort for a transitional government.

Oct. 20

Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril confirmed Thursday that ousted leader Moammar Gaddafi was killed when revolutionary fighters overran his last major stronghold. After about 90 minutes of fighting early Thursday, revolutionaries overran the last pro-Gaddafi holdouts in the Mediterranean coastal city of Sirte and effectively brought an end to an eight-month war.

GRAPHIC: Kat Downs, Laris Karklis, Alicia Parlapiano and Gene Thorp - The Washington Post. Updated Oct. 20, 2011.

Latest headlines

Gaddafi reported killed

Revolutionary fighters overran the last major stronghold of Moammar Gaddafi’s loyalists on Thursday, and Libyan state television and top officials of the new government reported that the ousted former Libyan leader was killed.