Update 3: Though most of Tripoli is in rebel hands, Moammar Gadhafi’s whereabouts remain unknown. Another of his sons, former footballer Saadi Gadhafi, was reportedly captured. NATO says it will continue its campaign of air support until all pro-Gadhafi forces surrender.
Update 2: As of this posting (Aug. 22, 1 a.m. Pacific time), rebel forces were engaged in fighting around the compound of Moammar Gadhafi, whose loyalists are said to control only a small fraction of Tripoli.
Update: Rebels fought their way into central Tripoli on Sunday, reportedly capturing one of Moammar Gadhafi’s sons. The BBC reports that the embattled leader remains in control of thousands of troops, though his hold on power appears more tenuous every hour.
Libyan rebels met with little resistance as they penetrated the outskirts of Tripoli on Sunday, edging closer to the last stronghold of Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi. With the help of NATO forces, insurgents captured strategic oil and military sites and seized weapons. Whether their success will continue as they leave Tripoli’s rural fringe and move into its populous urban areas—where NATO may be less likely to assist—is uncertain. —ARK
The New York Times:
Libyan rebels advanced to the outskirts of Tripoli on Sunday, pushing past the city’s outer defense lines and vowing to combine forces with insurgents who have waged intense battles inside the city, the final stronghold of Libyan leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
Rebel troops approaching from the west raced through Colonel Qaddafi’s “ring of steel” defense that had been positioned outside Tripoli on the road to Zawiyah, a strategic oil city now in rebel hands. Scores of rebels driving pickup trucks mounted with machine guns met little resistance as they reached Janzour, one of the suburbs of the Tripoli, rebel leaders said.
... While rebels expressed hopes that Qaddafi forces were losing their will to fight, support for the government could remain strong inside Tripoli. Analysts said that crucial role played by NATO an aiding the rebel advance in the relatively unpopulated areas outside the capital could prove far less effective in an urban environment, where concerns about civilian casualties could hamper NATO’s ability to target government troops.
AP / Sergey Ponomarev
Libyan rebels rest in the shade in the village of Mayah, roughly 20 miles from Tripoli.