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.
- 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.
- NATO confirmed Monday that it carried out an airstrike against a high-level command and control center associated with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's regime - an airstrike the Libyan government claims killed 15 people, among them three children. The target was "directly involved in coordinated and systematic attacks" against the Libyan people, NATO said. Earlier, NATO had denied the government's claims, saying it was not operating in the area at the time. Later, it said it was investigating the allegations.
- Fighting was ongoing Monday between rebels and troops in Dafniya, west of Misrata. Several rounds of bombardments could be heard by a CNN crew, and three dead rebels were brought into a field hospital close to the front lines. Hospital staff said 20 other wounded rebels were also brought to the hospital. Earlier Monday, three other dead rebels were brought to a second field hospital.
- At least eight people died and 30 were wounded Sunday in the fighting in Dafniya, according to records at Al-Hikma hospital and a field hospital where casualties were being treated. Most of the dead appeared to be rebel fighters. Bombardments began in the area Sunday morning.
- On Sunday, NATO acknowledged an errant airstrike in Tripoli may have caused "a number of civilian casualties." Libya's government said nine people were killed and six injured when a NATO strike hit a residential neighborhood in the Libyan capital.
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. They quickly gained velocity and strength and the movement to oust Gadhafi after more than four decades in power exploded into civil war. NATO began conducting airstrikes in March after a United Nations Security Council mandate to protect civilians.
- Ongoing clashes have left seven Yemeni soldiers and 17 Islamic militants dead in the past two days in the southern province of Abyan, a senior security official said Monday. At least eight soldiers were wounded in the clashes, and three of them were in serious condition, the official said. State-run Yemen TV reported that at least 17 al Qaeda militants have been killed in the fighting.
- On Sunday, more than 100 influential religious and tribal leaders said President Ali Abdullah Saleh was "injured seriously" in a June 3 attack on the mosque at the presidential palace, and should step down because he is unable to lead the country. In a statement circulated to media, the leaders called on Saleh to hand over powers to Vice President Abdu Rabu Mansoor Hadi.
Officials loyal to Saleh have said the president, who is being treated in Saudi Arabia, will return when he has recovered. Among the signed the statement's signatories was Yemen's most influential cleric, Sheikh Abdul Majid al-Zindani, whom the United States considers a terrorist.
Roots of unrest: Inspired by the revolution that overturned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, demonstrators on February 11 began protesting the 33-year-old regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. A month later, Saleh offered to draft a new constitution that would establish a parliamentary system, but protesters persisted in calling for his resignation, and numerous high-ranking political and military officials resigned or were dismissed. Saleh balked after making overtures to accept an agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council to step down, and fighting has escalated between security forces and opposition groups - primarily tribal forces and Islamic militants - since those efforts broke down in May.
- A few thousand people turned out Sunday to protest in Morocco, saying King Mohammed VI's proposed constitutional reforms don't go far enough. Though many expressed support for their king to stay in power, demonstrators argued that a network of privilege and patronage surrounding him must end, and that he must part with more power than he has proposed.
- In a nationally televised address Friday, the king declared sweeping reforms that will boost the power of the prime minister and take away some of his own. The revamped draft constitution will make officials more accountable, the parliament in Rabat more dynamic and will give the government greater powers, the 47-year-old king said.
Roots of unrest:¬†Protesters are seeking, among other things, political reforms to curb the power of the centuries-old monarchy. Like other nations in the region, Morocco is grappling with economic woes, including high unemployment.