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XII Zawiyya

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Chapter Summary

Zawiyya's geographic location and its early anti-Qadhafi activism made it a strategically important city during Libya's civil war. During the first phase of the conflict, Qadhafi forces deployed to Zawiyya to quell the demonstrations and remove protesters from the city square, launching a bloody assault in February 2011. In March, the Qadhafi forces returned to the city with reinforced military detachments and conducted an indiscriminate assault and siege campaign on the city. During the final phase in August 2011, the Qadhafi and thuwar forces again fought for control of the city, this time with NATO targeting Qadhafi forces and thereby shifting the balance of power in favor of the thuwar. Reports indicate that Qadhafi forces committed acts of sexual assault and rape in Zawiyya. Amnesty International also gathered witness accounts from females detained by the thuwar who were sexually abused and, in two incidents, raped by their guards and captors.

Keywords:military; NATO; Qadhafi; thuwar forces; Zawiyya



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