Libyan army has fired streams of rockets at the rebel-occupied Zintan, forcing thousands to flee the town to bordering Tunisia, say early reports.

The rebels said more than 40 Grad rockets had hit Zintan on Tuesday, and that support deliveries to the western port of Misrata were stalled by artillery fire and mines.

A Reuters report quoting rebels said the fighting had started again in Misrata's eastern suburbs, but powerful air strikes by NATO planes appeared to have won the port which is the city's lifeline.

The U.N. refugee agency said an exodus from the Western Mountains region had started, with thousands of Libyan families fleeing into southern Tunisia.

This past weekend, more than 8,000 people, most of them ethnic Berbers, arrived in Dehiba in southern Tunisia. Most are women and children, said Adrian Edwards, UNHCR spokesman.

Edwards added that tens of thousands have already fled the country and that most of them are waiting in the camps for few days before moving into Tunisia.

Some of them are fleeing by sea to Italy, though bad weather had delayed their plans by over 10 days, he said.

Rebels in Libya are hopeful that the Western governments would bail them out with aid and also support their campaign against Gaddafi.

On Saturday, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan had reiterated the demand that Gaddafi should step down and leave the administration to the Libyan people themselves and that Libya is not the property of a single person or a family.