Latest developments in Arab world’s unrest
A look at the latest developments in Mideast political unrest on Saturday:
Libyan rebels regain control of the eastern gateway city of Ajdabiya after international airstrikes cripple Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, in the first major turnaround for an uprising that a week ago appeared on the verge of defeat. A doctor in the western city of Misrata says airstrikes there put an end to two days of shelling and sniper fire from Gadhafi’s forces.
In Tripoli, a distraught Libyan woman storms into a hotel to tell foreign reporters that government troops raped her, setting off a brawl when hotel staff and government minders try to detain her.
Protesters set fire to offices of the ruling party in southern and western Syria, according to accounts by government officials, activists and witnesses. In Latakia, a religiously mixed city on the Mediterranean coast, crowds burn tires and attack cars and shops. Officials say at least two people were killed there.
Seeking to ease a week of unrest, President Bashar Assad pulls back police and soldiers from the southern city of Daraa, the epicenter of the protests, and releases hundreds of political prisoners.
Talks between members of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s party and the opposition make no progress toward a deal on the president’s possible resignation. Protesters behind six weeks of demonstrations are demanding his immediate ouster, while the president’s dwindling allies seek a transition that allows an “honorable” exit for a leader in power for 32 years.
Thousands of supporters of King Abdullah II take to the streets of the capital to express their loyalty in the face of a resilient opposition movement demanding political reforms and new elections. The brother of a man who died a day earlier in clashes involving rival groups of protesters and police says he was part of the anti-government side. That contradicts the view of authorities who insist he was a government supporter and that he died of a heart attack.