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The Battle of Gharyan was a battle in the Libyan Civil War between rebel anti-Gaddafi forces and forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi for control of the Tripolitanian city of Gharyan located at the Eastern edge of the Nafusa Mountains.


Following large scale protests across the country, what would soon become part of the organized opposition in Libya gained control over most of the Nafusa mountains. Gharyan was soon captured by the rebels[5] however as part of the offensive to retake control of Libya from the rebels, Gaddafi quickly dispatched units to regain control. During the night between the 1 and 2 March, loyalist forces came into the town, under the cover of darkness.[citation needed] On the morning of 2 March, the rebels realised that the town was overrun by government troops. Soldiers had a list of opposition members and started to round up all of the rebels in Gharyan. Gharyan had been retaken by the government.[6]

Following the defeat of Gaddafi forces in Yafran and Kikla, rebel forces began to make preparations for an attack on Gharyan. On 6 July, Rebels captured Al-Qawalish and advanced on Asabah. However a Gaddafi counterattack was able to hold them back and temporarily recaptured Al-Qawalish.[citation needed]

The Battle

On 13 August, rebel forces attacked Gharyan. It was reported that the rebels were initially successful as Gaddafi forces retreated, however they later regrouped and attacked.[7] On 14 August, the Rebels stated that they controlled "70 percent" of the city.[8] A fighter in Al-Qawalish said he heard that loyalist troops were retreating from Gharyan.[9] On 15 August, the rebels claimed they had "full control" of the city.[10][11] A spokesman for the rebel military council in the Nafusa Mountains asserted, "Gharyan is fully in the hands of the revolutionaries. They crushed the Sahban Brigade, the main command center for Gaddafi in the Western Mountains. They took the brigade's heavy and light weapons."[12]

On 16 August, governmental spokesman Moussa Ibrahim stated that governmental troops would soon retake Gharyan, implicitly supporting the rebel account that Gharyan had been taken.[13][14] Reuters confirmed that Gharyan was in rebel hands, with rebel forces positioned in the city centre with a T-34 tank.[15]

On 17 August, continued fighting in the city was reported.[16]

On 18 August, loyalists fully withdrew from the city, which was confirmed by a Reuters correspondent. The loyalists had retreated north to 'Aziziya.[17][18]


On 15 August, rebels claimed to have moved south from Gharyan after the battle, and taken the military base of Mizda, gaining access to the Libyan Army's military supplies stored there.[19] Mizda lies near a strategic junction between roads to Gharyan, Bani Walid, and Sabha.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "UN clears way for Libyan no-fly zone". ABC News. 18 Mar 2011. 
  2. Siddique, Haroon; Owen, Paul (15 August 2011). "Mubarak on trial: Middle East live – Monday 15 August 2011". The Guardian. London. 
  3. Tue, 16 Aug 2011, 14:48 GMT+3 - Libya
  6. Yuboco, Adeline (2 March 2011). "Pro and Anti-Gaddafi groups battle for strategic towns in Libya". Digital Journal. Tripoli. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  7. "Gaddafi defiant as rebels claim gains in west". Al Jazeera. 14 August 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  8. Al Jazeera Libya Live Blog. August 14, 2011 - 18:38 Entry
  9. Lowe, Christian (14 August 2011). "UPDATE 1-Libyan rebels say they attack town south of Tripoli". Reuters Africa. Al-Qawalish. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  10. "Qaddafi Defiant As Libyan Rebels Enter Key Towns Near Tripoli". 15 August 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  11. "Fighting rages in Libya amid parley reports". 15 August 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  12. Georgy, Michael (15 August 2011). "Rebels say Tripoli encircled; Gaddafi defiant". Zawiya. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  13. "Rebels say they are just 50km from Tripoli". The National. Zawiya. 16 August 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  14. Beatty, Andrew; Bar, Herve (16 August 2011). "Victory nigh for rebels?". Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  15. Laessing, Ulf (18 August 2011). "Libya rebels take Garyan, south of Tripoli-witness". Reuters Africa. Gharayan. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  16. Fahim, Kareem (18 August 2011). "Libyan Rebels Gain Control of Oil Refinery as Qaddafi Forces Flee". The New York Times. Zawiya. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  17. Laessing, Ulf; Bell, Yvonne (18 August 2011). "WRAPUP 6-Libyan rebels seize refinery, eye Tripoli". Reuters UK. Zawiya. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  18. Valdmanis, Richard (18 August 2011). "Rebel pays price in fight for Libyan town". Reuters Africa. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  19. 16:56 15 August entry at

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