Rebels gather on the front line in eastern Libya
Rebels gather on the front line in eastern Libya Reuters

Libyan rebels are reported to be preparing for a large counter attack, after losing significant ground to forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi.

Fighting has continued in the towns of Brega and Misrata with neither side gaining a clear advantage in a civil war which appears to be posing the logistical challenge of projecting force across desert distances to both sides.

Although Colonel Gaddafi's troops can no longer rely on air support, thanks to the imposition of a no fly zone by the United Nations, they still hold significant advantages over their rebel opponents.

The rebel army still lacks the heavy weaponry available to government forces and also has ill-trained and poorly organised troops. In addition airstrikes by international forces are only sanctioned by UN Resolution 1973 to protect civilians, not aid the military struggle of the rebels.

NATO, which has taken over military operations, has already been accused of aiding the rebels with air-cover, claims that NATO has denied.

In addition to reports from ABC News of a buildup of rebel forces for a counterattack, there are also indications that Colonel Gaddafi's forces are laying mines around a coastal highway being used to outflank the rebels.