"They are using more and more trucks and light vehicles and they are
keeping more heavy equipment like armored vehicles [concealed]," NATO
spokesman Brig. Gen. Mark van Uhm said. "We are trying to identify where
those heavy assets, such as tanks and armored vehicles, are, because they
are hiding in urban areas."
In a briefing in Brussels on April 5, van Uhm acknowledged that
Gadhafi's tactics, which included waves of attacks, have frustrated the
NATO no-fly zone mission. The
brigadier said the lion's share of NATO combat air sorties return from Libya
without having fired toward targets.
On April 4, 14 out of 150 air sorties over Libya fired toward regime
targets, van Uhm said. In the first six days of NATO command, the alliance
reported 851 sorties.
"The operational tempo remains, but we have seen a change of [Gadhafi]
tactics," van Uhm said. "When human beings are used as shields we don't
engage and then they [NATO aircraft] come back with the ammunition."
In all, van Uhm said, NATO has assessed that about 30 percent of
Gadhafi's military forces was destroyed. The biggest loss was that of the
combat air fleet of the Libyan Air Force.
"The assessment is that we have taken out 30 percent of the military
capacity of the pro-Gadhafi forces," van Uhm, who did not elaborate, said.
Officials said NATO, which took over operations from the United States
on March 31, assessed that Gadhafi was concealing heavy weapons in urban
areas, particularly Misrata and Tripoli. They said bad weather has also
restricted reconnaissance operations that might detect suspected arms
"We have confirmation that in Misrata tanks are being dispersed, being
hidden, human beings used as shields in order to prevent NATO sorties to
identify targets," van Uhm said. "We are closely monitoring where they are."