Sky News exclusive from inside Zawiyah contradicts Gaddafi victory 'fantasy'

Sky News special correspondent Alex Crawford has provided ample evidence tonight of why she has won an unprecedented three Royal Television Society Journalist of the Year prizes.

Sky News cameraman Martin Smith, deputy foreign editor Tim Miller and Crawford are the only western journalists present in Zawiyah to see the town come under attack from pro-Gaddafi forces in Libya. A special report is going out on Sky News at 9pm tonight.

Over three days she has chronicled the battle for the town and reported this evening that “Gaddafi’s military victory here is a fantasy”.

Zawiyah is closed off by checkpoints and internet traffic has been shut down. While Gaddafi has said that the town is loyal, Crawford’s reports show demonstrators crowding the streets to protest against his rule.

Her reports show anti-Gaddafi marchers being fired upon as they approach the pro-Gaddafi lines.

And at one point an ambulance the Sky crew is travelling in comes under fire, apparently from pro-Gaddafi soldiers.

The Sky News team were inside a mosque at the height of the fighting as the bodies of the wounded and the dead were carried into it.

In a report for the Sky News website Crawford writes:

“The pounding of the tanks is so close we feel like they are just the other side of the wall behind which we are sheltering.

“I look at Martin’s face and see just what I was feeling – it is sheer, raw terror. Tim has his head in his hands. I’m pretty sure he felt the same way….

.”..We were constantly stopped by the demonstrators. ‘Tell the UN we need their help,’ one man said. ‘Gaddafi is killing Libya. Send your report. We need to show people this.’

“…That night in Tripoli, the rest of the international media are being told yet again that the town has been freed, that Gaddafi’s forces are just ‘tidying up’ and there will be a media ‘show-round’ very soon.

“The capacity of the Gaddafi regime to manipulate the truth, it seems, knows no bounds.”

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