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According to their own reports, the rebels in Libya are advancing very rapidly and have conquered the strategic city of Sirte (or Sirt), the town where Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi was born, and an important stronghold on the way to the capital Tripoli.

Since coalition air strikes began about one week ago, the opposition has been making big advances. At first they managed to force Gaddafi’s forces to retreat from the outskirts of their capital Benghazi, and later they took over other important cities in eastern Libya, including the important port city of Ras Lanuf, which dispatches oil.

Ras Lanuf was the scene of a turnaround in the war – a place were the rebels began losing. Now the tables are turning once again. After they conquered Ras Lanuf and neighboring cities over the weekend, there are now reports that they have taken over Sirte and have control over 99% of Misurata in the west of Libya.

This advance brings hope of a resolution to the civil war – hope that also eases oil prices. WTI Crude now trades at around $104, drifting lower from above $106 that it saw last week.

Lower oil also helps the US dollar, and puts pressure on the Swiss franc and Japanese yen.

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