Inside Libya with Jonathan Alpeyrie

Jonathan Alpeyrie covered the revolution in Libya this past April. Here are his words and photographs:

Remnant of a Russian made tank from Kaddafi’s army after it was hit by NATO strikes 

Originally, my plan was never to hit Libya until later in the year, but when I spoke with my boss at Polaris in New York City while shooting a story in Tunisia on illegal immigration, I had to change my mind quickly. I bought plane tickets from Tunis, through Rome bound for Cairo. 24 hours later I was in Cairo looking to buy train tickets for Alexandria, the city, where I heard I could hitch a ride to the Libyan border. My plan was to push across the border into rebel territory and eventually reach Benghazi, the rebel army HQ. After 48 hours of hard driving, and many mishaps on the border, I finally reached Benghazi. I had no hotels or fixer lined up. I was lucky enough to meet some good locals who were willing to help me out.

After securing a hotel room and a car, I did my runs, each day to the front lines in Ajdabiya where most of the fighting was confined. I was warned on many occasions that these runs between Benghazi and Ajdabiya were dangerous as pro-Gaddafi forces were often on the move cutting through the only road connecting the two cities. Many journalists were suddenly caught behind enemy lines, in this ever-changing front lines, some were killed. Though these warnings were quite real, I still decided to do my job. For ten days I went back and forth documenting this war, which at the time, seemed to drag on. At this point in the war, there was some shelling of rebel forces causing steady casualties within their ranks. During my two weeks at the front, Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington were killed in Misrata while on assignment. This was a shock for all of us journalists working in Libya at the time. We will miss them.

- Jonathan Alpeyrie

Rebel fighters are taking a rest inside their town of Ajdabiyah and inspecting their weapons after fighting off Kaddafi troops a few days before   

A Rebel fighter is making home made grenades, similar to what local fishermen use to catch fish. The rebels use the same devise to destroy tanks inside urban areas

NATO hit the retreating Kaddafi army after it failed to take back Benghazi, destroying many tanks and pick-up trucks

Rebel troops took a direct hit from artillery resulting in many casualties

The front-line in Brega was abandoned so the rebel fighters could enter the city and defend it against potential attacks. This truck is moving closer to the town to take up defensive positions

Rebel anti aircraft unit is at the forefront of the front-lines, with Kaddafi forces only 20KM away

This rebel fighter is getting ready to use his RPG7

Rebel soldiers are taking cover while Kaddafi troops are trying to outflank their defensive position

Kaddafi’s Army attacked the oil refinery Al Srir killing four members of the rebellion. One of the four bodies is being buried into the ground, surrounded by hundreds of locals


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