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Mon March 21, 2011
Update: Gadhafi's momentum halted following strikes
The progress made by forces loyal to Col. Moammar Gadhafi has been halted, according to a U.S. official. CNN reports:
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's momentum has been stopped and rebels have been able to hold onto areas that Gadhafi's forces had been poised to take over, a U.S. official said Monday.
Some regime forces have pulled back, but it is unclear what their intentions are, the official said. It appears the regime's efforts are at least "stalled" right now, the official said.
The coalition is watching carefully to see if Gadhafi's claim of another ceasefire "is a pledge or just words," the official said.
The official said Gadhafi is surrounded by "fierce loyalists" with some defections, but no mass defections.
The official's remarks came shortly after the head of U.S. forces in Libya told reporters that coalition forces had made "very effective" progress Monday toward their goal of enforcing a U.N. Security Council resolution intended to protect civilians from attack by forces loyal to Gadhafi.
"I assess that our actions to date are generally achieving the intended objectives," said Gen. Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command. "We think we have been very effective in degrading his ability to control his regime forces."
No Libyan aircraft have been observed operating since the onset of military operations over the weekend, he said. In addition, air attacks have stopped Libyan ground forces from approaching Benghazi, "and we are now seeing ground forces moving southward from Benghazi," he said.
Sunday marked the second night of attacks by American and European forces to create and maintain the U.N.-mandated no-fly zone and protect Libyan civilians.
Check out a broad timeline of important events in the history of Libya at the BBC's website here.