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.
On Wednesday, Bahrain lifted state-of-emergency laws that had allowed for a crackdown on opposition leaders and journalists, while warning against anti-government activity.
The announcement by the country's Information Affairs Authority followed one from the justice ministry the day before, warning against "any type of activities that could affect the security or harm the national peace and safety."
The lifting of the emergency laws, imposed in mid-March, is thought to be an effort to signal an end to months of civil unrest.
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.
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.
Syria on Tuesday announced that it is granting "amnesty" to protesters accused of committing crimes.
But a report published by the state-run news agency seemed to suggest the protesters were not actually being offered amnesty, as in a general pardon, but were having their punishments for alleged crimes decreased.
An announcement on state-run television said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a decree granting amnesty to protesters arrested for crimes committed before Tuesday.
The announcement came after weeks of Syrian officials describing some protesters as "terrorists" trying to destabilize the country.
Roots of Unrest:
A U.N. official says that as many as 850 people may have died since the unrest began in mid-March after teens were arrested for writing anti-government graffiti in Daraa. 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.
Four missiles struck a compound where generals who defected from the Yemeni regime were meeting, a spokesman for the defected generals said Wednesday.
The spokesman, Askar Zuail, said there were no injuries or deaths as a result of the Tuesday-night assault, which he believes was committed by Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime.
A government spokesman denied the report to Al Jazeera on Tuesday. A senior defense ministry official who did not want to be named for security reasons also denied the claim to CNN.
The generals who defected are now running the largest military base in Sanaa. But despite such cracks in Saleh regime, the deadly unrest rages on.
Fierce clashes erupted between government security forces and Hashed tribesmen Wednesday in front of the Ministry of Local Administration in Sanna, eyewitnesses and residents said.
The Hashed tribe has opposed government forces in intermittent fighting for more than a month.
Fifteen tribesmen have died and 31 have been injured from clashes in the past two days, said Abdul Qawi Qaisi, spokesman for the head of Hashed tribe.
Roots of Unrest:
Protesters have called for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled Yemen since 1978. The country has been wracked by a Shiite Muslim uprising, a U.S.-aided crackdown on al Qaeda operatives and a looming shortage of water.
High unemployment fuels much of the anger among a growing young population steeped in poverty. The protesters also cite government corruption and a lack of political freedom. Saleh has promised not to run for president in the next round of elections.
NATO has decided to extend its mission in Libya by 90 days, continuing a campaign that began in March, the alliance announced Wednesday.
Resolution 1973 was approved by the U.N. Security Council in March and authorized member states "to take all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack in the country, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory."
The Libyan government has accused NATO of killing hundreds of civilians and wounding thousands more, during a two-month long bombing campaign in Libya.
CNN cannot independently verify the figures.
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.