Allied Forces Cripple Libyan Air Force

Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi‘s air force has been neutralized by the U.S.-led Allied Forces, a British military official told BBC on Wednesday.

According to Air Vice-Marshall Greg Bagwell of the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force, Gaddafi’s aerial unit “no longer exists as a fighting force,” giving Allied Forces control of the Libyan skies. The Libyan Air Force’s defeat has allowed Western forces to more effectively protect civilians from Gaddafi’s military, Bagwell said. “We are watching over the innocent people of Libya and ensuring that we protect them from attack,” he said.

Western airstrikes have also forced Gaddafi’s forces to halt their attack of the rebel-held city of Misurata. However, a resident reportedly told Reuters that Gaddafi’s snipers continue to operate and target civilians. “Two people were killed by snipers an hour ago in the centre of the town,” the witness told Reuters in an interview.

The development came as Western leaders continue to debate on who should lead the intervention known as “Odyssey Dawn.” U.S. President Barack Obama, under fire from Republicans for involving the U.S. in the Libyan war, is reportedly looking to hand over control of the operations to the NATO.