NATO jets have been attacking food stores and destroyed a health clinic in Zlitan. The CNN report by Ivan Watson and Jomana Karadsheh from Zlitan, a town half-way between Tripoli and Misrata provides further evidence of how NATO and the rebels are working together closely in a military campaign, not to protect civilians but to conquer anti-rebel areas for the National Transitional Council.
The report quotes local official Ramadan Mohamad Ramadan as saying:
“People here call NATO the crazy one which lost its sanity, it is waging wide-scale war on the people. They are destroying everything.”
Ramadan was standing in front of the rubble of a health clinic that he said had been demolished by a pre-dawn attack on Monday. Several bulldozers dug through wreckage strewn with medical supplies, including syringes, medication and even a microscope.
Government officials said they were looking for the bodies of three people believed to be buried underneath, and said the bodies of eight people had been pulled out earlier in the day.
This is a relevant tweet from Chief of Defence Staff’s Strategic Communications Officer and Ministry of Defence spokesman on military operations Major General Nick Pope:
As the rebels push forward, so loyalist forces and anti-rebel civilians concentrate forces to counter them – presenting targets for the NATO jets. The report from Zlitan indicates the RAF has no great compunction about bombing targets in urban areas (if anyone thought they might have). The fact the civilian population, which came out against the rebels in massive demonstations in Zlitan not long ago, has largely chosen to flee the rebel advance is significant.
It is obvious that dark-skinned Libyans and pro-Gaddafi civilians will want to avoid falling under the control of openly racist and murderous rebel brigades. Presuming the rebels do take control of a mainly empty Zlitan (as they have of empty towns in the Nafusa) it will be interesting to see how long for. As their supply lines become extended they are subject to counter-attack, particularly by the inhabitants of the towns they have conquered.
As is common with desert warfare, the main aim of the rival militaries is not so much control of territory (which is important for civilians and for propaganda purposes) but destruction of the opposition. In the unlikely event the rebels ever make it to the gates of Tripoli, the destruction which would be meted out to the civilians and defenders of that city can scarcely be imagined.
Huamn Rights Investigations condemns this war crime and calls for an immediate end to the bombing of Libya.