On 21 August, rebels entered the Libyan capital of Tripoli and took control of large areas, while pockets of pro-Gaddafi resistance remain.
Moez is a junior doctor from Britain who has travelled to Tripoli to help provide medical aid. Here is his diary of recent events.
Sunday 21 August 14:00 – Tatouine, Tunisia
I was in Tunisia when news came of the imminent “fall” of Tripoli. I made the mad scramble through the Western Mountains and we were on the road for 20 hours.
We stopped by a roadside café (the only one for along a 300km stretch of road) near to Rujban in the Western Mountains of Libya.
There, many Libyans were fixed to the television screens and the news of the capture of Gaddafi’s son was aired.
People hugged each other and prostrated themselves on the ground in the middle of the café to thank God. We could hear celebratory gunfire from many different directions outside.
We were keen to make our way to Tripoli and so we hit the road again, making our way down the mountains and towards Bir Ghanam, then Zawiya.
Monday 22 August 05:00 – Zawiya to Tripoli, Libya
Entering Zawiya, a place in the last few months I had only ever seen through the eyes of the world media, the destruction and devastation was plain to see.
Many burnt-out buildings lined both sides of the road and it was obvious that major battles had taken place here.
As we made our way to Tripoli, the number of cars around us increased and we found ourselves amongst a convoy of cars all making the same journey.
As we got closer to the suburbs of the capital, women and children lined the streets waving, singing and hugging each other. “We love you, revolutionaries of the mountains,” some shouted.
Monday 22 August 07:00 – Girgaarish, Tripoli, Libya
There was much more of the same scenes in the western suburbs of Tripoli, and roadblocks had been set up by some of the local neighbourhoods to monitor who was entering and leaving the area for security purposes.
As we got closer to the centre we noticed that all of a sudden it became very eerily quiet and there wasn’t a single car or person on the roads. We became quite uneasy.
On the side of the road we noticed that someone was shot in the leg, then we were informed by another car that arrived next to us that there were snipers up ahead so we had to make a quick u-turn back – Tripoli wasn’t quite done yet.
Monday 22 August 14:00 – Suq Al Thalath, Tripoli, Libya
We went back along the same road as we were told that it was a lot safer.
We managed to get as far as a few minutes from the heart of Tripoli, Green Square (now restored to its original name of Martyr’s Square).
There, we saw that a large battle was taking place in a large compound.
An organised group of revolutionaries that had descended into Tripoli from the mountains had surrounded a loyalist cell in this compound and ordered them to surrender, giving them the opportunity.
When the cell refused and started attacking the revolutionaries, they went in and secured the building by killing off the remaining pockets of resistance.
Monday 22 August 21:00 – Siraaj, Tripoli, Libya
I was staying in a very organised neighbourhood, as it was difficult to get across to the other side of town due to safety concerns.
I say it was organised from a security point of view. Local civilians had set up checkpoints and lookouts on their streets to make sure that no weapons or anyone that could cause concern from a security point of view could enter.
One person I got to know on the day later gave me a call to come and take a look at his brother who got shot. He had a shotgun wound to his shoulder and had his wounds cleaned at the hospital earlier on.
But looking at his x-rays, I counted 29 pellets still embedded in his shoulder. The reason I was asked to see him was to administer intravenous antibiotics.
The hospital was so full that they could not keep him in and so he was told to administer antibiotics through a cannula at home by himself.
He was also not given any analgesia whatsoever so we arranged for this from the local pharmacy that was being used now as a field hospital.
Tuesday 23 August 10:00 – Mansoura, Tripoli, Libya
Early morning, we heard that there was a massive battle in Bab al-Azizia – Gaddafi’s compound – so we made our way there.
As we got closer, the sound of heavy gunfire could be heard and black smoke was rising from the compound.
I joined the front-line soldiers and managed to get a front row seat to what was going on. There were at least 50 or 60 of these “technicals” or pick-up trucks that had been modified to carry heavy artillery, rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns on the back of them.
The writing on the side of the trucks showed that they were from all over Libya: Misrata, Zintan, Jadu, Yefren, Rujban, Sorman, and Zawiya. They pounded away mercilessly for hour after hour.
Tuesday 23 August 14:30 – Mansoura, Tripoli, Libya
The pounding at Bab al-Azizia continued and we provided some first aid to some of the casualties before they were taken to a field hospital or larger hospital.
Around 13:00, a French journalist I was with was shot in the thigh, possibly by a sniper bullet. He was very shaken and we managed to provide some roadside first aid to stop the bleeding before whisking him away.
I was asked to go with them, but I didn’t want to leave the battlefield as I felt that I could help people there, so we went to a place where the journalist could be assessed a little better.
Tuesday 23 August 18:00 – Field hospital, Tripoli, Libya
We found out that he had a bullet entrance and exit wound to his thigh.
After he was stabilised, transport was arranged for him to be taken to a safer area.
At the field hospital, there were dramatic scenes of doctors rushing around and a swarm of casualties turning up at the hospital entrance – staff were clearly over-stretched.
The bodies of those that had ‘expired’, as the local doctors put it, were piled up on one side of the room as no-one was able to deal with them, as well as the endless stream of casualties that were still arriving at the hospital.
Tuesday 23 August 18:00 – Bab al-Azizia, Tripoli, Libya
I made my way back to Bab al-Azizia and found that the revolutionaries had just entered Gaddafi’s infamous compound.
There were three large perimeter reinforced concrete walls that we went through and into the inner compound.
Within it there were huge plains of lush green grass, palm trees and different buildings and condos. To one side there were the tents in which he was famous for receiving guests.
Right beside that was the iconic and symbolic building that was Gaddafi’s house which was bombed in 1986 in response to the Berlin discotheque bombing where two American GIs were killed.
A civilian that went inside came out wearing the very hat that the colonel often wore when giving speeches.
Tuesday 23 August 19:00 – Bab al-Azizia, Tripoli, Libya
I noticed that many people were making their way to the rear of the compound and so I went to investigate.
Everyone that was walking in the opposite direction to me had more guns in their hands than they could carry along with boxes of ammunition: Beretta pistols, Kalashnikovs, sniper rifles, submachine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, missile launchers – you name it.
But it was quite a sad sight to see a civilian population becoming armed in such a way – it can never be a good thing.
It will only mean that civil law and order may take some time to be established.
As dusk fell, some gunfire and even rockets were being fired over our heads. It was unclear who was firing and it became very dangerous and so we left the area very quickly to the safer suburbs.
Wednesday 24 August 13:00 – Mitiga Air Base, Tripoli, Libya
I arrived at the airbase and found that the local volunteer doctors had already set up an operation at the base alongside support from the infamous Dafniya Field Hospital based out of Misrata that has been treating casualties on the front line near Zliten for the past few months.
They arrived in Tripoli on Tuesday night with a group from International Medical Corps.
There were many casualties at this hospital and I would say it was working near to full capacity. Most of the wards and the beds were full.
In one of the wards, some of the injured Gaddafi loyalists that were captured were being held. I counted at least 16 of them and they were being well looked after in spacious rooms and provided with good medical care.
However, at the entrance, there were at least three or four young men with loaded weapons who were keeping watch as much for the safety of the regime loyalists as for themselves.
Wednesday 24 August 20:00 – Mitiga Air Base, Tripoli, Libya
As dusk set, a large trailer arrived at the hospital and I heard some crying and wailing.
A casualty arrived at the same time that was shot in the leg and hand. After he was treated, we spoke to him and found out that he was held captive alongside the 17 dead bodies in a school that was being used by regime forces as a prison.
As the regime loyalists retreated the day before, they entered the room and executed them – the lone survivor was the casualty we spoke to. He said he played dead so they wouldn’t shoot him again.
He was able to identify at least 15 of the 17 bodies as he had spent a week with them in the cell and got to know them. The bodies looked like they were as old as 60 years old and the youngest looked like he was around 13 or 14.
It was obvious that these were the war crimes that Gaddafi is to be prosecuted for at the International Criminal Court and so my colleagues and I from International Medical Corps took it upon ourselves to try to document the types of injuries that these people had by taking clear pictures of them.
The demoralising task took a few hours to complete and amongst the stench and sweat from the stress of the situation, I almost passed out a few times.
That was nothing compared to the sorrow that was felt by the few family members that arrived to identify the bodies of their loved ones. One old man arrived to identify a relative and howled: “Gaddafi you monster”, through his tears.
Source- BBC News