Developing

Rebels Face Tough Fight In Gaddafi Heartlands

Rebel fighters from the east of Libya face a tough battle as they head west along the roads into Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's heartlands.

The longstanding dictator's troops have been driven from the oil town of Ras Lanuf, but are putting up a fierce defence of Bin Jawad and As Sidr.

The oil terminal towns are all that stands between the rebels and Col Gaddafi 's home town of Sirte.

But with fighters loyal to Libya's leader of 42 years proving more resolute than expected, one rebel commander echoed the feelings of many within the opposition forces.

He told Sky News: "I am definitely surprised.

"Gaddafi's over, but people are still loyal to him, that's what surprises me."

Sky's security editor Sam Kiley, in Ras Lanuf, said: "The success of the western rebellion in Tripoli has inevitably energised the east.

"But (on these roads to Sirte) the rebels have few friends and they face a tough battle to unite the country."