Libyan Rebels in Retreat as Country's Foreign Minister Resigns

Anti-Gadhafi forces lose ground country's foreign minister resigns.

ByABC News
March 31, 2011, 12:56 AM

March 31, 2011— -- Libyan rebels have retreated despite support from NATO airstrikes, days after seeming to turn the tide against leader Moammar Gadhafi.

The ongoing battle has shown no signs of abating as President Obama Wednesday signed a presidential finding authorizing covert operations to assist the anti-Gadhafi forces.

Rebels were met overnight with heavy fire from Gadhafi forces as cars fled the eastern city of Ajdabiya, erasing almost all of the rebels' gains.

Gadhafi's troops have been using pickup trucks armed with heavy weapons, making them hard to distinguish from the rebels in the air.

After a fast advance to the doorstep of Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, the rebels have lost town after town.

Haja Umm Ahmed's family fled Ajbadiya this morning because it was too dangerous to stay.

"We're terrified, we wanted to get out because of the kids," Ahmed said. "The bombs and the shelling were everywhere."

But with every major advance for Gadhafi, comes a major setback.

One of his closest allies made his own full retreat Wednesday night, all the way to London.

Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa resigned from the regime in protest against Gadhafi's attacks against civilians.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Koussa's departure is a sign that Gadhafi's regime is "crumbling."

Hague also said Koussa is "not being offered any immunity from British or international justice."

But as one member of Gadhafi's inner circle exits, another has newly emerged.

Once rarely seen in the media, Gadhafi's only daughter, Aisha, has now taken to Libyan TV and to the frontline, echoing her father's message that they will not back down.