Read time: 2 minutes

The Battle For Zawiyah

Alex Crawford's (Sky news) riveting report from inside Zawiyah, Libya. A city under siege by the madman Muammar Gadhafi.

Alex Crawford's (Sky news) riveting report from inside Zawiyah, Libya, a city under siege by the madman Muammar Gadhafi. As the world continues to dither on what, if anything, to do about Libya this small city near Tripoli defies the odds by fending off Gadhafi's army which bombards residential areas with abandon. Will Gadhafi level an entire city?

Gadhafi denies any of this is happening. State run television does not show any of it of course.

WARNING: Some of the hospital scenes are graphic. A full 10 min version here.

The people of Zawiyah are fighting for their lives. We have seen with our own eyes Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces firing on peaceful protesters.

We have witnessed the regime's tanks shelling residential buildings. We have sheltered in a mosque as the colonel's soldiers fired on the minarets.

Later, we were in the town's Martyrs' Square watching the rebels' celebrations as the authorities in Tripoli told the foreign media they had "liberated" the place.

The Sky News crew of cameraman Martin Smith, foreign editor Tim Miller and I found ourselves trapped in Zawiyah as the Libyan army still loyal to Col Gaddafi moved in to crush them.

The day before, we had joined thousands and thousands of Zawiyah's towns folk as they marched through the streets demanding Col Gaddafi stepped down.

They shouted slogans for change and waved the original Libyan flag as they moved en masse to the army tank lines on the edge of the town.

In the crowds were children, mostly young boys. They looked around eight, maybe 10 years old. "Go Gaddafi, go," the crowd shouted.

We were constantly stopped by the demonstrators. "Tell the UN we need their help," one man said. "Gaddafi is killing Libya. Send your report. We need to show people this."

Then, as the crowd came close to the first tank, near an intersection, the soldiers opened fire.

The crowd appeared to flinch but carried on walking - the firing carried on too. It caused a stampede as people fled. The firing continued.

We saw ambulances being driven at high speed to pick up the first casualties and they too were fired on.

This is a completely full attack. Approximately 50 tanks have been bombarding the city, crushing everything in sight.
--Eyewitness account of Pro-Gaddafi forces assault on Zawiyah

It was mayhem at the Zawiyah teaching hospital, as dozens of people were stretchered in by friends, colleagues and strangers. The injuries were appalling.

One doctor, who we shall call Dr M for his own safety, told us: "This is a shoot to kill policy. Most of the injuries are to the head, chest and neck.

"These are not shots to frighten people, these are shots to kill."

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