By Rob Crilly, Benghazi
7:24PM BST 23 Aug 2011
Leaders in the eastern port city have suffered a difficult 24 hours, watching their forces become embroiled in a Tripoli street fight.
The episode has revived long-standing tensions between the professional army units and the young, inexperienced revolutionaries — students, the unemployed and Islamist militias — that comprise the 20,000-strong rebel forces.
Reports from the Libyan capital suggest the weekend’s helter-skelter advance has left rebel units isolated inside the city.
“If they were proper soldiers they would have secured their entry points to Tripoli, not wasted all their ammunition celebrating,” said a senior rebel air force officer speaking on condition of anonymity.
“They have moved straight through the city without thinking about whether they can hold on to anything. But these are civilians. What do you expect?”