Col. Muammar Qaddafi might soon have to trade one of his funny hats for a helmet.
Today rebel fighters in Libya captured the city of Zawiya, just 20 miles west of Tripoli, according to the Associated Press. Rebels said as they entered the country’s main square, Qaddafi troops stationed there fled quickly.
Coalition forces continued to shell the 200,000-resident city despite the apparent transfer of control, suggesting that Zawiya had yet to come fully into the hands of the opposition or that the information had not yet been relayed rebel support.
Meanwhile, control of the city of Brega to the east was in question, according to the BBC. Rebel fighters there fell back under heavy shelling from government forces, but later claimed that they had taken control of key areas in the region, seen as important for its wealth of oil fields.
During the six-month conflict in the country, many towns and cities initially taken by rebel fighters have fallen back into the hands of government soldiers. Zawiya, which holds oil refineries, was just such an example—taken by opposition forces in the early uprising but later falling back into the hands of Qaddafi’s army after bloody fighting.
But in recent weeks the tide seems to have turned in favor of the opposition, suggesting the dictator’s regime could be falling apart.
"Qaddafi’s days are numbered," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman told the AP. "The best case scenario is for Quaddafi to step down now ... that's the best protection for civilians."
A steady flow of refugees from Tripoli and the cementing of rebel positions along important supply routes also suggest the regime maybe on the verge of collapse. With rebels approaching with the east, west, and south, a fight in Tripoli could take place soon.