Rebels inched toward Tripoli Wednesday, capturing a town southwest of the capital from Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces, a rebel fighter told CNN.
The rebels ran over Al-Qawalish, a town of about 4,000 people just 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of Tripoli, a stronghold for Gadhafi since the start of the uprising in February.
Hassan Al-Jiwali, a rebel fighter from the Nafusa Mountains, said 50 of Gadhafi's men were killed and 15 were captured. CNN could not independently verify the offensive.
Fierce fighting erupted in the western mountains in recent weeks as more than four months of battles have failed to yield a decisive victory for either side.
The first United Nations joint mission to access the devastated mountain region found that many people are in dire need of food. A World Food Programme statement said markets are not functioning due to limited fuel and cash, and basic services such as electricity and water are also lacking in some areas.
The rebels said they were moving north, closer to the capital on the Mediterranean Sea. They intended to march next to the city of Garyan, which sits on the main highway to Tripoli.FULL STORY