NATO: Gadhafi Is on the Ropes
Rebels seize key routes into Tripoli
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2011 7:50 AM CDT
Libyan rebels celebrate as they man a check point at the entrance of the residential area of Brega, on August 15, 2011, while battles between rebel and loyalists forces continue west of the town.   (Getty Images/AFP)

(Newser) – A series of impressive rebel advances have left Moammar Gadhafi’s troops reeling and on the verge of defeat in Libya, NATO commanders told reporters yesterday. “Our assessment, without going into details, is that the Gadhafi regime does not have anymore an effective operational capability,” one colonel said, according to CNN. Hillary Clinton echoed the optimism. “I think the sense is that Gadhafi’s days are numbered,” she said.

Rebels have made dramatic territorial gains in the northwest and in the Misrata and al-Brega regions, putting them in control of some of the key routes to Tripoli. “We will be very careful entering Tripoli, which we hope to do by the end of this month,” one National Transitional Council colonel said. Fighting continues, however, in some cities near the capital, with state-run TV claiming that loyalist forces are “cleansing the city of Sabratha from the gangs of traitors.”