Timeline: Libyan civil war (February 15 – October 20, 2011)
After 247 days of fighting, the National Transitional Council has declared victory over deposed leader Moammar Gadhafi. Gadhafi’s fate came to an end on October 20, 2011 after he was captured and killed.
Below are key dates of Libya’s civil war, which started February 15, 2011:
February 15: Between 500 and 600 demonstrators protested in front of Benghazi’s police headquarters after the arrest of human rights lawyer Fathi Terbil. The protest was broken up violently by police, resulting in clashes in which 38 people were injured.
February 17: A “Day of Rage” is planned in Libya after violent clashes and protests turned deadly days before. Protesters torched a number of government buildings, including a police station.
February 19: Witnesses reported helicopters firing into crowds of anti-government protesters.
February 21: Gadhafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi called for a “general assembly” to discuss grievances. In Benghazi, protesters took control of the streets, looting weapons from the main security headquarters and seized the local radio station.
February 25: For the first time in days, thousands took to the streets of Tripoli to protest with the civilian death toll rising.
February 27: After distancing itself from the Gadhafi regime, Italy officially suspended the “friendship” treaty it holds with Libya.
March 2: The Gadhafi regime attempted to retake the city of Brega, but the attack was largely repelled by the rebels.
March 3: The International Criminal Court announced it would begin to launch an investigation into war crimes committed by Gadhafi, and his sons.
March 6: The rebels fended off the attack on Misrata by Gadhafi’s forces.
March 10: France officially recognized the National Transitional Council as Libya’s only legitimate government. Portugal later also recognized the council.
March 12: Al Jazeera cameraman Ali Hassan al-Jaber was shot dead near Benghazi. He was the first journalist killed since the uprising started.
March 16: he UN called for a ceasefire on both sides, and established a draft resolution for a no-fly zone.
March 19: Pro-Gadhafi forces were reported in the suburbs of Benghazi and shelling the city with artillery from 20 km
March 20: China, Russia and the Arab League condemned the violence from the U.S., and France with Russia claiming that the UN Security Council resolution had been “hastily adopted”.
March 23: Eight explosions from coalition bombings were heard after sunset in eastern Tripoli. Pro-Gadhafi forces re-entered Misrata and attacked its main hospital.
March 25: Canadian Lt. Gen. Charlie Bouchard was to command the NATO military air and sea operations under the name Operation Unified Protector.
March 26: Rebel forces recaptured Ajdabiya after Gadhafi forces retreated and with little threat also captured Brega.
March 30: Forces loyal to Gadhafi recaptured the oil-refinery town of Ra’s Lanuf forcing rebels to retreat further to the east.
April 4: Italy recognized the interim national council in Benghazi as its “only legitimate interlocutor” in Libya
April 13: NATO conducted air strikes against munitions bunkers kilometers away from Tripoli.
April 24: A NATO airstrike flattened a building inside Gadhafi’s Bab al-Azizia compound early Monday, in what a press official from Gadhafi’s government said was an attempt on the Libyan leader’s life.
May 1: Moscow strongly condemned NATO for bombing Gadhafi’s complex, stating that its mandate was to “protect, not kill Libyans”.
May 6: Amnesty International accused Gadhafi’s regime of committing war crimes in Misrata by “deliberately targeting and killing civilians”.
May 20: NATO airstrikes targeted several ships in Tripoli’s port, a loyalist asset which had become an increasing threat to the waters off Misrata.
May 22: NATO launched airstrikes near Gadhafi’s complex in Tripoli while a bus carrying foreign journalists was attacked by civilians armed with guns and knives while waiting to refuel at a Tripoli petrol station.
June 7: Gadhafi appeared live and vowed to stay in Libya “dead or alive” as NATO launched some of its most destructive airstrikes yet.
June 9: Nations supporting the opposition agreed to finance the National Transitional Council with over $1.1 billion as the rebel finance minister announced plans to gradually restore oil exports in the west.
June 12: The United Arab Emirates announced its full diplomatic recognition of the NTC as the legitimate government of Libya.
June 14: Canada recognized the NTC as Libya’s sole legitimate government while Liberia announced it was cutting formal diplomatic relations with the Gadhafi administration
June 26: African leaders met in Pretoria, South Africa, to try to come up with a peace proposal. No representatives of the Gadhafi regime or of the opposition were present at the talks.
June 27: UN Security Council passed a resolution freezing Gadhafi’s assets and restricting his travel. The International Criminal Court wants Gadhafi investigated and issues a warrant for his arrest.
July 8: Gadhafi issued another audio message broadcast through state television, exclaiming that NATO, the rebels and others who oppose his rule will be trampled “under the feet of the Libyan masses”, and also repeated his threats of violence against NATO member states in Europe.
July 15: Japan and the U.S. formally recognized the NTC as sole legitimate representative of Libya.
July 16: The rebel forces fought Gadhafi forces on the outskirts of Brega, suffering heavy casualties. At least 12 rebels were killed and 178 wounded.
July 18: The NTC claimed rebels took much of Brega and pro-Gadhafi forces were in retreat towards Ra’s Lanuf.
July 29: The body of General Abdel Fatah Younis – the top commander of the rebel forces – was shot and burned before being dumped outside Benghazi. His body was later recovered and his funeral was held later.
August 3: Libyan rebels seized control of an oil tanker ship, believed to belong to the Gadhafi regime, in the Mediterranean Sea near Malta, which contained up to 250,000 barrels of fuel. The ship was then diverted by rebels on board to the port of Benghazi.
August 9: NTC representatives formally took over the Libyan embassy to the U.K. in London, England.
August 22: Saif al-Islam Gadhafi appeared before news reporters in Tripoli that night to dispel the rumours of his capture.
August 29: The Algerian government confirmed that several Gadhafi family members had crossed into Algeria.
September 1: One of Gadhafi’s sons, Saif al-Islam, reportedly said he would fight to the death while another, Saadi, was said to be negotiating with the rebels. Gadhafi was reported to have tried to flee to Algeria.
September 9: Interpol has issued an arrest warrant for Gadhafi.
September 10: International Monetary Fund recognized the National Council as the only government of Libya and the Group of Eight offered $38 billion to Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan to 2013 and $35 billion to Libya.
September 12: China recognized the NTC as the only Libyan government.
September 16: The United Nations recognized the NTC as the legal representative of Libya.
September 20: The African Union officially recognized the NTC as Libya’s government.
September 27: The NTC army took control over Sirte’s port two kilometres to the east of the city proper.
October 20: Gadhafi was captured and killed by the National Transitional Council.