Anti-Gadhafi forces, backed as ever by NATO air support, bore down on the loyalist-held city of Sirte today, pressing an assault that’s sent dozens of families fleeing from their homes. “The easterners are exterminating everything in front of them,” one man tells the Wall Street Journal. One commander told Reuters that an elder from Gadhafi’s tribe had called him to ask for a truce, and safe passage for families out of the city. The commander agreed, but so far fighting has not abated.
Families who have fled have often found themselves immediately detained by rebels from Misrata armed with lists of suspected Gadhafi loyalists, the Journal reports. “We’re going to punish even those who supported Moammar with words,” one fighter told a protesting detainee. The Misrata fighters have also rounded up people from their neighboring town of Tawergha, keeping them captive in a Sirte mosque. They accuse Tawergha of aiding Gadfhafi’s forces in the siege of Misrata, and have ransacked and burned the town.