Protests escalate in Egypt after deadly soccer riot
A masked Egyptian protester prepares to throw back a tear gas canister fired by security forces during clashes in Cairo.
February 3rd, 2012
08:31 AM ET

Protests escalate in Egypt after deadly soccer riot

Violent clashes reignited in Cairo on Friday between Egyptian police and protesters angered by reports of inadequate security at a soccer match that devolved into a riot this week, leaving 79 people dead.

Thousands of protesters gathered outside the Interior Ministry, prompting riot police to deploy tear gas for fear the men - some of them masked - would storm the building.

"The people demand the downfall of the field marshal," chanted the protesters, who waved flags from the popular soccer team Al-Ahly, which was playing in the game Wednesday when the riot broke out.

Gen. Marwan Mustapha, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said protesters who had taken over a government taxation building were throwing Molotov cocktails from the roof. More than 100 security forces were injured, including several by birdshot pellets, Mustapha said.

Similar clashes on Thursday left two dead in Suez and a military officer dead in Cairo, said Adel al Adawi, a Health Ministry spokesman.

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January 10th, 2012
11:20 AM ET

Al-Assad blames 'external conspiracies' for Syrian violence

In a rare and defiant speech Tuesday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad blamed the unabated violence in his country on "external conspiracies," criticized the Arab League as toothless and said that the international call for reform wasn't taking into account what the country was really facing: terrorism.

While he did not explicitly point the finger at a particular country, al-Assad blamed the unrest on both Western and Arab elements as world pressure mounted on his embattled government for its 10-month-long crackdown against protesters.

"The mask has fallen off these faces," he said. "No wise person denies these international conspiracies that (are) being done in order to spread fear inside. But this time, it was done with people from inside."

Thousands have been reported killed by security forces throughout the uprising. Death estimates range from more than 5,000 to more than 6,000. The Syrian government has consistently blamed the violence on "terrorists" and al-Assad denied that he commanded forces to open fire on protesters.

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December 24th, 2011
03:58 PM ET

Bahrain drops some charges against protesters

Bahrain's public prosecutor announced Saturday that he will drop some charges against opposition protesters detained in this year's unrest, state media reported.

The charges that will be dropped relate "to speech protected by the right to freedom of expression," the Bahrain News Agency reported.

Forty-three cases applying to 343 people will benefit from the announcement, according to BNA.

The move comes as the oil-rich country that is also home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet works to recover from harsh criticism over its handling of opposition protests this year. A report released in November by an independent commission found police tortured and used excessive force against civilians arrested during a crackdown on the protests.

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Arab League proposes sanctions against Syria, including freezing assets
November 26th, 2011
04:16 PM ET

Arab League proposes sanctions against Syria, including freezing assets

Arab League finance ministers recommended Saturday that economic sanctions be levied against the Syrian government for its part in a bloody, months-long crackdown on civilian demonstrators, a senior Arab League official told CNN.

Foreign ministers from the regional alliance will meet at 11 a.m. Sunday in Cairo (4 a.m. ET) to consider whether to adopt the proposal.

Damascus had failed to respond to a Friday deadline for it to allow Arab League observers into the Middle Eastern country to monitor the government's response to civil unrest.

"The Syrians responded with more requests to amendments to the protocol; they did not reject or accept," a senior Arab League diplomat said.

The slate of sanctions proposed Saturday in Cairo - which were opposed by Algeria and Iraq - include barring any private or commercial airlines from the league's 22 member states from flying into or out of Syria.

In addition, all assets belonging to the Syrian government and its officials would be frozen so they couldn't be accessed, and Syrian officials would not be allowed to visit Arab League countries.

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November 25th, 2011
10:34 AM ET

Turkey urges Syria to make choice as deadline passes

Turkey's foreign minister warned Friday that it was time for Syria to make a decision, as a deadline passed for it to agree to let Arab League observers into the country to monitor the government's response to civil unrest.

Damascus's failure to respond opens the door to economic sanctions against Syria by its neighbors, a senior Arab League diplomat told CNN in Cairo.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Syria risked international isolation if it continued on its present path - and, that the current bloodshed as it puts down pro-democracy protests could not be tolerated.

"Syria has to make a decision," he said, speaking in Istanbul alongside his Italian counterpart, Giulio Terzi.

"It will either continue this crackdown policy against its people and become isolated more and more, or it will say yes to this well-intentioned Arab League proposal, sign this protocol and observers will monitor the situation on the ground by going to all Syrian cities."

Protesters in cities around the country have been demanding al-Assad's ouster and democratic elections since March.

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November 23rd, 2011
08:39 AM ET

Embassy: Yemeni president in Saudi Arabia to sign deal

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday to attend a signing ceremony for a Gulf Cooperation Council proposal aimed at ending Yemen's months-long political crisis, a Yemeni official said.

Once Saleh signs the agreement, executive powers will be transferred to Vice President Abdo Rabu Mansour Hadi "effective immediately," Mohammed Albasha, a spokesman for Yemen's embassy in Washington, said in a statement.

"This monumental agreement will hopefully bring an end to the 10-month long turmoil in the homeland," Albasha said.

Saleh will remain permanently in Saudi Arabia after he signs the deal, a presidential source said.

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November 22nd, 2011
12:53 PM ET

Egypt's military accepts Cabinet's resignation

[Updated at 12:53 p.m. ET] The military council that has led Egypt since protesters ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February has accepted the resignation of Egypt's Cabinet, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi said Tuesday.

Tantawi's comments come after four days of protests and violence in Cairo. Demonstrators have been calling for the fall of the military council; 29 protesters have died in clashes with security forces since Saturday, said Hisham Sheeha, spokesman for Egypt's Health Ministry.

Egypt's Cabinet offered to resign Monday night. Justice Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz al-Juindy explained that this move to quit the government was driven by opposition to security forces' crackdown on demonstrators.

Tantawi, addressing his country in a televised address Tuesday evening, said that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is "only concerned about the security of the country and the interests of the country" and doesn't want to rule. He said protesters are trying to "drag us back into the past," and that the military-led government is "trying hard to be tolerant."

"The armed forces are always with the people," he said, adding that the armed forces would never be allowed to shoot at the Egyptian people.

After Mubarak's fall, military leaders took control with the promise that eventually a civilian government would be elected and take over. Military leaders still say they will hand over power to a new government when one is elected. However, while parliamentary elections are set to take place Monday, a complex electoral process follows, and the presidential vote could be a year away.

Demonstrators say they are concerned the military, which would continue to be Egypt's top authority until a president is in place, wants to keep a grip on the country. Many also have voiced anger about a proposed constitutional principle that would shield the military's budget from scrutiny by civilian powers. They say they worry the military would become a state within a state.

[Initial post, 12:11 p.m. ET] Egyptian officials have reached an agreement on a national government, according to the state-run Middle East News Agency.

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October 13th, 2011
01:39 PM ET

Security forces storm Syrian city, activists say

Security forces raided a northern Syrian city amid explosions and gunfire early Thursday and casualties have been reported, activists said.

The forces clashed with gunmen believed to be dissidents in the city of Binnish in Idlib province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Local Coordination Committees of Syria, another activist group, said 14 people had been killed, including 12 in Binnish and one each in Homs and Daraa. Among those dead are at least two young children, the group said.

"Syrian military forces supported by tanks and armored personnel carriers stormed the city early this morning," Syrian Observatory said. "Heavy machine guns and shelling have been heard around the city."

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August 22nd, 2011
09:57 AM ET

Gadhafi regime 'crumbling' as rebels battle for Tripoli

Six months after a ragtag group of poorly trained rebels set out to topple the Libyan regime, the fighters appeared Monday to be on the brink of ending Moammar Gadhafi's 42-year rule.

With three of the Libyan leader's sons in their custody, rebel forces were battling Gadhafi forces on his home turf, Tripoli.

"A great majority of the capital of Tripoli is under freedom fighters' control," said Guma El-Gamaty, the Britain-based coordinator for the rebels' National Transitional Council.

"The real moment of victory is when Gadhafi is captured," NTC chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil said a news conference in Benghazi, long a rebel stronghold in the conflict.

But Gadhafi's whereabouts were unknown.

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July 26th, 2011
08:53 AM ET

Group: Syrian government crackdown causes more deaths

 

Clashes in Syria's streets have led to the deaths of 11 civilians since Friday, according to Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a dissident group.

The organization said the deaths came during the violent government crackdown on protests that have sprung up in various cities including Aleppo, Deir Azzor, Daeel and Douma.

CNN cannot independently verify the claim, and a government response was not immediately available.

Government officials blamed the some of the violence on "terrorists," according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). SANA reported Tuesday that the "terrorists" killed three security officials and two civilians.

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June 30th, 2011
11:33 AM ET

Explaining the Arab unrest

[Updated October 20, 2011] In January, protesters in Tunisia forced out longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in a popular revolt that triggered unrest across North Africa and the Middle East.

In some countries, demonstrators have forced their governments to enact reforms. In others, brute force has met the protests.

CNN.com’s interactive map highlights differences among the countries, offering an overview of the region and the major changes that have taken place since beginning of the year.

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June 25th, 2011
05:05 PM ET

Libyan soccer players join the rebels

Seventeen prominent soccer players in Libya have defected to the rebels, opposition spokesmen said Saturday, in another setback to the county's embattled leadership.

They arrived in the rebel stronghold of Zintan in western Libya Saturday afternoon to cheering crowds that greeted them with celebratory gunfire and smiles. Players posed with locals and briefly batted a soccer ball between their heads.

"I am telling Colonel (Moammar) Gadhafi to leave us alone and allow us to create a free Libya," goalkeeper Juma Gtat told BBC News earlier in the town of Jadu.

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June 24th, 2011
01:41 PM ET

Arab Unrest: Middle East and North Africa, country by country

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been swept up in protests against longtime rulers since the January revolt that ousted Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. In many cases, these demonstrations and movements have been met with brute force and escalated into seemingly unending violence. Here are the latest developments from each country and information about the roots of the unrest.

SYRIA

The European Council on Friday condemned "in the strongest possible terms the ongoing repression and unacceptable and shocking violence the Syrian regime continues to apply against its own citizens."

"By choosing a path of repression instead of fulfilling its own promises on broad reforms, the regime is calling its legitimacy into question," the council said.

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday after Muslim prayers, as they had on past Fridays in recent weeks. Protests were held in various locations, including Hama, Homs, Deir El Zour, Idlib, Qameshli, Latakia, and in neighborhoods of Damascus, according to Rami Abdelrahman, head of the London-based Syria Observatory for Human Rights.

GPS: Why the odds are against the protesters in Syria

The group reported 11 deaths: 10 in Friday demonstrations and one death from injuries suffered in a demonstration a few days ago.

Damascus streets contrast sharply with border chaos

On Thursday, the alliance voted to expand sanctions against Syria by freezing the assets of seven people and four businesses with connections to the regime. Among those sanctioned were three commanders in Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps accused of helping the "regime suppress protests" and "providing equipment and support" to the government, according to the European Union Official Journal.

Abdelrahman said that in al-Kasweh, in the province of Damascus, security forces fired at protesters, resulting in injuries. Estimated deaths have exceeded 1,600, he said, with 1,316 civilians and 341 soldiers and security forces killed.

An estimated 10,000 people have been jailed, Abdelrahman said, but that number is fluid because there have been many releases and new detentions. The military crackdown has spurred the flight of refugees from Syria into Turkey.

At least 11,739 refugees are now in Turkey, the Hatay governor's office in Turkey said Friday.

Roots of unrest: The unrest began in mid-March after teens were arrested for writing anti-government graffiti in Daraa, according to Amnesty International. As the crackdown intensified, demonstrators changed their demands from calls for freedom and an end to abuses by the security forces to calls for the regime's overthrow. On April 19, Syria's Cabinet lifted an emergency law that had been in effect since 1963. But security forces then moved quickly to crack down. Government opponents allege massive human rights abuses.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has chartered ships to ferry people cut off from their families since war erupted four months ago.

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June 21st, 2011
11:05 AM ET

Arab Unrest: Middle East and North Africa, country by country

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been swept up in protests against longtime rulers since the January revolt that ousted Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. In many cases, these demonstrations and movements have been met with brute force and escalated into seemingly unending violence.

Here are the latest developments from each country and information on the roots of the unrest.

SYRIA

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad offered another general amnesty Tuesday for those accused of crimes, Syrian state TV reported. It's the second known amnesty overture from the embattled Syrian leader since protests erupted in the Middle Eastern country.

GPS: Another deeply disappointing speech by Bashar al-Assad

Ammar Qurabi, chairman of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, said Tuesday that dozens of protesters were arrested Monday during peaceful anti-government demonstrations in the city of Aleppo.

State TV showed images Tuesday of thousands joining pro-regime rallies in cities such as Daraa, Aleppo and Homs. Some in the crowds chanted, "With our blood, with our souls, we will sacrifice for you, Bashar" and "God, Syria and Bashar only."

At least 10,718 Syrian refugees, many of whom fled a military advance in and around the city of Jisr al-Shugur, have crossed the border into Turkey, the Turkish government said.

Diplomats, reporters and U.N. agencies visited northern Syria in a government-sponsored trip on Monday. The war-battered town of Jisr al-Shugur was virtually deserted.

The International Committee of the Red Cross says Syrian officials agreed to give the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent wider access to areas of unrest and that the government has "expressed its readiness" to discuss ICRC visits to detainees.

Opinion: Obama can't 'lead from behind' on Syria

Roots of unrest: More than 1,100 people may have died since the unrest began in mid-March after teens were arrested for writing anti-government graffiti in Daraa, according to Amnesty International. As the crackdown intensified, demonstrators changed their demands from calls for "freedom," "dignity" and an end to abuses by the security forces to calls for the regime's overthrow. On April 19, Syria's cabinet lifted an emergency law, which had been in effect since 1963. But security forces then moved quickly to crack down. Government opponents allege massive human rights abuses.

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June 20th, 2011
01:19 PM ET

Arab Unrest: Middle East and North Africa, country by country

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been swept up in protests against longtime rulers since the January revolt that ousted Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. In many cases, these demonstrations and movements have been met with brute force and escalated into seemingly unending violence.

GPS: Corruption and the Arab spring

Here are the latest developments from each country and information on the roots of the unrest.

SYRIA

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday offered vague promises of reform and clear threats against protesters. The Syrian leader said he was "working on getting the military back to their barracks as soon as possible" but also warned that the government would "work on tracking down everyone who shed blood or plotted in shedding the blood of the Syrian people, and we will hold them accountable." He raised the possibility of amending the country's constitution and referred to the need for a "national dialogue" - but made clear that his government would not engage in one-on-one talks with the opposition.

– Human rights activist Malath Aumran claimed that security forces attacked people at Aleppo University and arrested more than 50 students, some of whom were protesting against the Assad speech. CNN could not independently confirm the report.

– The European Union Monday condemned "in the strongest possible terms the worsening violence in Syria." The EU appealed to Syrian authorities to "put an immediate end to arbitrary arrests and intimidations, release all those arrested in connection with protests, as well as other political prisoners who remain in detention despite the recent amnesty."

– Syria's state news agency on Monday claimed a mass grave in Jisr al-Shugur - where thousands of people have fled a Syrian military offensive - contained "bodies of the martyrs of security forces and police who were assassinated by the armed terrorist gangs." The state news agency said a large cache of weapons had been discovered in the town, which is situated near the Turkish border.

Roots of unrest: More than 1,100 people may have died since the unrest began in mid-March after teens were arrested for writing anti-government graffiti in Daraa, according to Amnesty International. As the crackdown intensified, demonstrators changed their demands from calls for "freedom," "dignity" and an end to abuses by the security forces to calls for the regime's overthrow. On April 19, Syria's cabinet lifted an emergency law, which had been in effect since 1963. But security forces then moved quickly to crack down. Government opponents allege massive human rights abuses.

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Arab Unrest: Middle East and North Africa, country by country
A screen grab from YouTube video shows smoke billowing during clashes between Syrian anti-government protesters and security forces in Syria.
June 17th, 2011
02:33 PM ET

Arab Unrest: Middle East and North Africa, country by country

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been swept up in protests against longtime rulers since the January revolt that ousted Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

In many cases, these demonstrations and movements have been met with brute force and escalated into seemingly unending violence.

Starting a revolution with technology

Here are the latest developments from each country and information on the roots of the unrest.

Prayer and politics: How Friday became the Middle East's day of protest

SYRIA

Protests unfolded in several towns big and small across the country, including the Damascus area, Latakia, Homs and Hama, where thousands of people took to the streets, according to Rami Abdelrahman of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Abdelrahman said four people died in Homs and one in Deir El Zour during demonstrations in Syria. The Lebanese army said fighting over the Syrian issue in the Lebanese city of Tripoli left at least four dead.

Three Syrian security personnel were injured by "militants" in a Damascus suburb, the government's state-run TV said, the first report of violence on another tense Friday of mass protests erupting across the nation.

Rami Makhlouf, the powerful head of the Syriatel phone company and part of the regime's inner circle, has announced that he plans to quit his business and go into charity work. Makhlouf, who is the cousin and confidant of President Bashar al-Assad, is widely unpopular among protesters and is a symbol among many citizens of the regime.

Many Syrians fleeing the violence continued to pour across the Turkish border, with the number of refugees now more than 9,600.


In the Altinozu refugee camp across the restive Syrian border, actress Angelina Jolie, who is a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. refugee agency, is visiting Syrian refugees in Turkey on Friday, a trip aimed at shining a spotlight on the plight of civilians in the country.

TIME.com: Syrian tends to refugees

Roots of Unrest: More than 1,100 people may have died since the unrest began in mid-March after teens were arrested for writing anti-government graffiti in Daraa, according to Amnesty International. As the crackdown intensified, demonstrators changed their demands from calls for "freedom," "dignity" and an end to abuses by the security forces to calls for the regime's overthrow. On April 19, Syria's Cabinet lifted an emergency law, which had been in effect since 1963. But security forces then moved quickly to crack down. Government opponents allege massive human rights abuses.

Syrian crackdown 'revolting,' State Department spokeswoman says 
Opinion: What could shake Syria's regime

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Arab Unrest: Middle East and North Africa, country by country
Syrian refugees in a camp on the Turkish border protest against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday.
June 16th, 2011
01:28 PM ET

Arab Unrest: Middle East and North Africa, country by country

[Updated 1:28 p.m.] Countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been swept up in protests against longtime rulers since the January revolt that ousted Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. In many cases, these demonstrations and movements have been met with brute force and escalated into seemingly unending violence.

Here are the latest developments from each country and information on the roots of the unrest.

SYRIA

The number of Syrian refugees now in Turkey stands at 8,904, Turkish emergency officials said on Thursday.

This increase comes as Turkish government officials, such as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, met with a special Syrian envoy to help stem the growing tide of refugees.

The U.N. human rights office called for "a thorough probe into the allegations of widespread abuses committed by Syrian authorities during their violent crackdown."

A preliminary report prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that as of mid-June, the number of those killed during such incidents is believed to have exceeded 1,100 persons, many of them unarmed civilians; among them were women and children." That's over a period of three months.

The OHCHR said reports indicate than up to 10,000 people have been detained over three months, and it has received information that security forces "have perpetrated acts of torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment against detainees, resulting in death in custody in some cases."

Syrian civilian: Why is our president killing us?

The report, which covers the period from March 15 to Wednesday, is based on data from U.N. agencies. human rights activists, a small number of victims and witnesses, and various groups. The OHCHR said it had to rely on these sources because it hasn't been able to get staffers "on the ground in Syria."

Roots of Unrest: More than 1,100 people may have died since the unrest began in mid-March after teens were arrested for writing anti-government graffiti in Daraa, according to Amnesty International. As the crackdown intensified, demonstrators changed their demands from calls for "freedom," "dignity" and an end to abuses by the security forces to calls for the regime's overthrow. On April 19, Syria's Cabinet lifted an emergency law, which had been in effect since 1963. But security forces then moved quickly to crack down. Government opponents allege massive human rights abuses.

Opinion: What could shake Syria's regime?

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Arab Unrest: Middle East and North Africa, country by country
Syrian refugees make their way to the Turkish border. The U.N. said 10,000 Syrians have fled into neighboring countries.
June 15th, 2011
10:07 AM ET

Arab Unrest: Middle East and North Africa, country by country

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been swept up in protests against longtime rulers since the January revolt that ousted Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. In many cases, these demonstrations and movements have been met with brute force and escalated into seemingly unending violence.

Here are the latest developments from each country and information on the roots of the unrest.

SYRIA

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to huddle with a special Syrian envoy on Wednesday in an effort to help stem the growing tide of refugees racing into Turkey from conflict-wracked Syria. The number of Syrians who have crossed the border now stands at 8,421, according to Turkey's disaster and emergency management directorate.

CNN reporter, briefly in Syria, hears 'horror' stories

That flight has been spurred by violence and a military offensive in the conflict-scarred country, and Turkey is worried that the border crisis could deteriorate and destabilize the region.

Of the refugees, 4,368 are children and 73 Syrians are now being treated in Turkish hospitals, the emergency directorate said. More than 1,230 tents have been set up in a number of locations.

Actress Angelina Jolie, a longtime goodwill ambassador for the U.N. refugee agency, has submitted an application to visit the refugees in Turkey, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal confirmed to CNN by phone. He says the government is "evaluating" the request.

GPS: The consequences of Syrian refugees in Turkey

Roots of Unrest: More than 1,100 people may have died since the unrest began in mid-March after teens were arrested for writing anti-government graffiti in Daraa, according to Amnesty International. As the crackdown intensified, demonstrators changed their demands from calls for "freedom," "dignity" and an end to abuses by the security forces to calls for the regime's overthrow. On April 19, Syria's Cabinet lifted an emergency law, which had been in effect since 1963. But security forces then moved quickly to crack down. Government opponents allege massive human rights abuses.

Analysis: Why U.N. won't act against Syria

FULL POST

June 14th, 2011
10:01 AM ET

Unrest: Middle East and North Africa, country by country

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been swept up in protests against longtime rulers since the January revolt that ousted Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. In many cases, these demonstrations and movements have been met with brute force and escalated into seemingly unending violence.

Here are the latest developments from each country and information on the roots of the unrest.

LIBYA

NATO refused to say Tuesday whether or not it would bomb ancient Roman ruins in Libya if it knew Moammar Gadhafi was hiding military equipment there. The alliance recently extended its mission - officially to protect civilians in Libya from Gadhafi's efforts to crush an uprising that has left rebels in control of parts of the country - for another 90 days, into September.

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Germany formally recognizes the rebel Transitional National Council as the representative of the Libyan people, putting Berlin in line with the United States, France, Italy and a handful of other countries. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed for diplomatic support for the rebels at a meeting of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The UAE has recognized the Transitional National Council as the legitimate Libyan government.

After a siege of nearly two months, rebels have freed the city of Al-Rayyana, northeast of Zintan, said rebel fighter Talha Al-Jiwali. Nine rebels were killed, and 35 were wounded.

What should NATO bomb first, soldiers or Gadhafi himself?

Roots of Unrest: Protests in Libya started in February when demonstrators, fed up with delays, broke into a housing project the government was building and occupied it. Gadhafi's government responded with a $24 billion fund for housing and development. A month later, more demonstrations were sparked when police detained relatives of those killed in an alleged 1996 massacre at Abu Salim prison, according to Human Rights Watch. High unemployment and demands for freedom have also fueled the protests.

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Latest developments: Middle East and North Africa unrest
Yemeni anti-government demonstrators call for the ousting of President Ali Abdullah Saleh during protests on Thursday.
June 2nd, 2011
01:07 PM ET

Latest developments: Middle East and North Africa unrest

[Updated at 1:07 p.m.] Countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been swept up in protests against longtime rulers since the January revolt that ousted Tunisian strongman Zine El Abedine Ben Ali. In many cases, these demonstrations and movements have been met with brute force and escalated into seemingly unending violence.

Here's a look at what's next for the 'Arab Spring' and look at the latest developments from each country and information on the roots of unrest.

BAHRAIN

After state-of-emergency laws that had allowed for a crackdown on opposition leaders and journalists were lifted Wednesday it was thought to be an effort to signal an end to months of civil unrest.

As the state of emergency was lifted, protesters gathered across Bahrain, in locations including Aldiraz, Daih, Bani Jamrah, Karzakan, Abo Qowa, Duraz and Sitra, according to Nabeel Rajab, a prominent Bahraini human rights activist.

Rajab said peaceful protesters were attacked by security forces with tear gas and rubber bullets, causing injuries but no deaths. The demonstrations were dispersed soon after they started, he said.

On Tuesday, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa appealed for dialogue, saying that talks with opposition groups are scheduled to begin in July.

GPS: How radical are Bahrain's Shia?

Bahrain warns against state protests

Roots of Unrest:

Protesters initially took to the streets of Manama to demand reform and the introduction of a constitutional monarchy. But some are now calling for the removal of the royal family, which has led the Persian Gulf state since the 18th century. Young members of the country's Shiite Muslim majority have staged protests to complain about discrimination, unemployment and corruption, issues they say the country's Sunni rulers have done little to address.

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