Capitalizing on their gains in Tripoli, Libyan rebels are advancing on Colonel Muammar Qaddafi's hometown of Sirte where a new flashpoint of the conflict has emerged. "They have been exchanging heavy rocket fire with about 1,000 Gaddafi loyalists on the road to the city and are bringing up reinforcements," reports the BBC. "Gaddafi forces are still firmly in control of the eastern city as well as Sabha in the desert to the south." The AFP quotes rebel commander Fawzi Bukatif, who's taken aback by the resilience of pro-Qaddafi forces. "Gaddafi's forces are still fighting, we are surprised. We thought they would surrender with the fall of Tripoli." Meanwhile, Britain defense secretary announced today that NATO forces are helping rebels track down Qaddafi without detailing the level of support. Britain would not confirm a report in the Telegraph that elite forces were on the ground assisting the rebels. According to Reuters, Libyan rebels nearly captured Qaddafi yesterday when they stormed into a private residence "where he appeared to have been hiding."