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Unrest: Middle East and North Africa, country by country

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) -- Demonstrations have spread across parts of the Middle East and North Africa. Here is the latest from each country and the roots of the unrest.

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NEW DEVELOPMENTS

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LIBYA

-- Gen. Carter Ham, who is overseeing U.S. military involvement in the Libyan mission, said the biggest challenge in going after Moammar Gadhafi's troops and snipers is when they are in close proximity to civilians. He also said the coalition is not arming opposition forces.

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-- NATO has agreed in principle to protect Libyan civilians and will work out details this weekend, said Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command. He also said removing Moammar Gadhafi by military means is not the aim of the mission.

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-- U.S., French and British military forces launched an operation against Moammar Gadhafi's forces Saturday, convinced that the Libyan leader was not adhering to a United Nations-mandated cease-fire. The attacks on Libyan military positions with missiles and airstrikes are part of an operation that includes enforcement of a no-fly zone.

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-- The best way to go after Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's ground forces in populated areas is to cut off their supply lines, U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Bill Gortney said at the Pentagon Friday. That would not only affect the strength of Gadhafi's troops but also diminish their will to fight, Gortney said.

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-- Protecting civilians in Libya will continue regardless of the command structure, but that part of the mission could also eventually fall under NATO, Gortney said Friday. "Job one is to protect the Libyan people and the job doesn't change because we have a new boss," he said, briefing reporters at the Pentagon.

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SYRIA

-- Violent protests erupted Friday in Syria, with dozens of people people killed in and around the restive city of Daraa and a boy slain in the coastal town of Latakia, reports said.

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-- "The situation in Syria has worsened considerably over the past week, with the use of live ammunition and tear gas by the authorities having resulted in a total of at least 37 people being killed in Daraa, including two children," said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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PREVIOUS DEVELOPMENTS

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LIBYA

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-- The coalition has reports that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is seeking to arm volunteers to fight the opposition, U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Bill Gortney said Friday. Despite air-strikes on Gadhafi's tanks in the city of Ajdabiya, the "regime is still able and still determined to reinforce their positions there," Gortney said.

-- The Libyan delegation attending an African Union meeting in Ethiopia said Friday that Libya is committed to a cease-fire and is ready to let the African Union monitor the cease-fire. Mohammed al-Zwai, speaker of the Libyan People's Assembly, said the crisis in Libya is strictly an African problem and should be dealt with solely by the African Union.

-- The United Arab Emirates announced it will send 12 aircraft in the coming days to help patrol and enforce the United Nations-mandated no-fly zone.

-- Turkey, once reluctant to join a military operation in Libya, agreed to allow use of an eastern air base in Izmir as a sub-command station for NATO.

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-- Coalition warplanes dropped bombs on the outskirts of Tripoli early Friday.

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-- Airstrikes targeted Libyan armored vehicles in Ajdabiya, the British Defence Ministry said.

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-- More than 351,000 people have left Libya since the start of the unrest, the U.N. refugee agency and the International Organization for Migration said.

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-- Dirk Niebel, Germany's minister for development aid, criticized nations implementing the U.N. resolution authorizing force in Libya. "I find it strange that countries that are still getting oil from Libya are happily bombing the place. I think before military intervention, you should exhaust all non-military methods of pressure," he said.

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-- The United Arab Emirates expressed support for the U.N. resolution on Libya and committed six F-16s and six Mirage aircraft to participate in patrols, the country's foreign affairs minister said.

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-- After a fifth consecutive night of pounding by coalition jets, Libyans gathered at a seaside cemetery in Tripoli on Thursday for the funerals of 33 people the government said were victims of an airstrike. Coalition leaders report no civilian casualties.

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-- The battle for two cities -- Misrata in the west and Ajdabiya in the east -- continues despite the U.N. resolution.

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-- NATO agreed Thursday to take command of enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.

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Roots of unrest

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-- 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, which has ruled since a 1969 coup, 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 the Abu Salim prison, according to Human Rights Watch. High unemployment and demands for freedom have also fueled the protests.

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YEMEN

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-- A human rights activist described the anti-government protest as huge and said a funeral prayer took place at the protest for two of the people who died last week during the violence in Sanaa.

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-- There are two rival demonstrations in Yemen on Friday, one pro-government and the other anti-government.

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-- President Ali Abdullah Saleh told a throng of demonstrators Friday he is ready to have a dialogue with protesters and make concessions in order to avoid bloodshed. He said he's ready to hand over authority systematically but not to "gangs," "drug dealers" or al-Houthi rebels.

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-- Germany and Britain are pulling non-essential embassy staff out of Yemen because of the rapidly deteriorating security situation, they said Thursday.

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-- Saleh has accepted opposition demands for constitutional reforms and holding parliamentary elections by the end of the year, his office said Wednesday.

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-- Saleh's statement came the same day Yemen's parliament approved a 30-day extension of emergency powers that he declared last week in response to the protests. The law expands the government's powers of arrest, detention, and censorship.

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Roots of unrest

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-- Protesters have called for the ouster of 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 who have suffered from 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.

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SYRIA

-- The U.S. government condemns the outbreak of violence in Syria, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Friday. "We are making clear from here and from other places what our position is."

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-- Nine more people in the Syrian city of Daraa were killed on Friday when security forces opened fire on demonstrators in the city's main square, a human rights activist told CNN. These are in addition to the 15 people slain when they were trying to march toward the town.

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-- At least 15 people have been killed while trying to march toward the southern Syrian city of Daraa, where deadly anti-government protests have taken place, local residents told CNN Friday.

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-- Gunfire was heard in the background as CNN spoke by telephone with a protester in Daraa about the ongoing unrest.

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-- Eyewitnesses said demonstrators took to the streets in Daraa on Friday. Protesters chanted for freedom and criticized the government. One activist, Kamal Aswad, said more than 100,000 demonstrators turned out.

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-- Syrian human rights activists reported smaller demonstrations in other cities, including Damascus, Deir Al-Zour, Raqqa, Latakia, and Homs.

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-- A big demonstration is expected Friday in Daraa near the Omari mosque and the Saraya roundabout.

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-- An eyewitness at the mosque said tens of thousands of people are gathering for Friday prayers.

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-- As many as 20,000 people turned up Thursday for the funerals of people killed in unrest in the southern city of Daraa, according to Wissam Tarif of the human rights group Insan.

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-- Many in the funeral procession chanted anti-government slogans and said, "We demand dignity," according to a witness who asked not to be named.

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-- An adviser to President Bashar al-Assad said the government will study lifting the country's emergency law and new legislation to license political parties. She also announced new measures such as boosting the salaries of state employees.

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-- The government blamed the instability in Daraa on outsiders, but it promised "no live bullets" will be used against demonstrators.

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Roots of unrest

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-- Opponents of the al-Assad government allege massive human rights abuses, and an emergency law has been in effect since 1963. Earlier in March, Syrian human rights attorney Haitham Maleh -- arrested in October 2009 during a government crackdown on lawyers and activists -- was freed, his son said. The move comes amid demands by many citizens for more economic prosperity, political freedom, and civil liberty.

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JORDAN

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-- Sixty-two citizens and 58 members of Jordanian security forces, including two senior officers, were injured during Friday's clashes in Amman, Jordan, according to the country's General Security Directorate.

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-- Demonstrations turned violent in Amman, Jordan, Friday as government loyalists clashed with protesters who are pushing for reforms.

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-- Officials say police tried to separate the two groups and were initially overwhelmed before they later regained control of the situation.

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-- Jordan Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said, "Things have gotten a little out of hand." He noted that the country has "a leadership that initiates reform."

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-- Nasser tweeted on Friday that 62 demonstrators and 54 policemen were injured during Friday's demonstrations.

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-- Several demonstrators calling for reform in Jordan were injured in Amman Friday when government supporters hit them with rocks and sticks, protest organizers said.

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-- Government opponents and supporters chanted dueling slogans while police stood by, one organizer said. Many protesters advocate a constitutional monarchy and less power for the king; they also are angry about corruption and the privatization of some services, among other things.

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Roots of unrest

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-- Jordan's economy has been hit hard by the global economic downturn and rising commodity prices, and youth unemployment is high, as it is in Egypt. Officials close to the palace have told CNN that King Abdullah II is trying to turn a regional upheaval into an opportunity for reform. He swore in a new government following anti-government protests. The new government has a mandate for political reform and is headed by a former general, with opposition and media figures among its ranks.

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BAHRAIN

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-- Bahrain authorities handed over the bodies of two people killed in earlier clashes between protesters and government supporters, according to a journalist in Manama.

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-- Protesters on Friday marched in residential areas outside the capital city of Manama, where armored vehicles rumbled through the streets and jet fighters patrolled the country's airspace.

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-- Human Rights Watch urged Bahrain on Monday to end its "campaign of arrests" of doctors and human rights activists. Six were arrested over the weekend. The government denied there is such a campaign.

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-- King Hamad said Sunday the kingdom had foiled a foreign plot to destabilize it, though he did not name the foreign entity.

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Roots of unrest

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-- 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 in recent years to complain about discrimination, unemployment and corruption, issues they say the country's Sunni rulers have done little to address. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights said authorities launched a clampdown on dissent in 2010. It accused the government of torturing some human rights activists.

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SAUDI ARABIA

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-- Security forces arrested several people demonstrating at the interior ministry Sunday. Two activists said around 100 men had gathered there to demand the release of imprisoned relatives.

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Roots of unrest

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-- Demonstrators have demanded the release of Shiite prisoners who they feel are being held without cause. Others have taken to the streets over the creation of a constitutional monarchy, more rights and other reforms. Late last month, King Abdullah announced a series of sweeping measures aimed at relieving economic hardship.

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EGYPT

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-- U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was in Egypt on Wednesday for talks with officials and military leaders of the key U.S. ally. It was Gates' first visit to Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down.

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-- The visit follows a referendum last weekend in which voters overwhelmingly approved proposed constitutional amendments paving the way for parliamentary elections in June.

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-- A report published this week by Amnesty International describes the mistreatment of 17 female demonstrators at the hands of the Egyptian military after a protest March 9. The group said the women were beaten, given electric shocks, subjected to strip searches, forced to submit to "virginity checks," and threatened with prostitution charges. An army major denies allegations of torture or virginity tests but confirms 17 women were arrested.

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-- Some activists, concerned citizens, and politicians are calling for a protest against a new law that Egypt's ruling military council is poised to approve. The law could make protests a criminal offense punishable by jail time and large fines.

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Roots of unrest

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-- Complaints about police corruption and abuses were among the top grievances of demonstrators who forced President Hosni Mubarak from office. Demonstrators also were angry about Mubarak's 30-year rule, a lack of free elections and economic issues, such as high food prices, low wages and high unemployment. Since Mubarak's departure, several thousand people have protested in Cairo's Tahrir Square to urge Egypt's new rulers to implement promised reforms. They pressed Egypt's Supreme Council to end an emergency law and release political prisoners, among other things. They also demanded civilian representation in government.

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TUNISIA

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-- In two short months, this country has gone from decades of strict one-party rule to an explosion of more than 30 registered political parties.

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Roots of unrest

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-- The revolt was triggered when an unemployed college graduate set himself ablaze after police confiscated his fruit cart, cutting off his source of income. Protesters complained about high unemployment, corruption, rising prices and political repression. An interim government came to power after an uprising prompted autocratic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to leave the country January 14. Those demonstrations helped spark protests across North Africa and the Middle East.

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MOROCCO

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-- Moroccan Foreign Minister Taib Fassi Fihri held talks Thursday in New York with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the situation in the Arab world, particularly in the Maghreb region, the state-run MAP news agency reported.

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-- Fihri said Wednesday that proposed constitutional reforms will strengthen the separation of powers and will help a "new Morocco" emerge, MAP reported. He said the committee in charge of revising the constitution will submit its results for the king's approval in June, after which they will be put to a public vote.

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Roots of unrest

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-- Protesters are seeking, among other things, political reforms to limit the monarchy's power and have not accepted reforms proposed by King Mohammed VI that demonstrators say do not go far enough, according to Human Rights Watch. As uprisings swept the region, the king proposed the creation of an elected prime minister position to serve as the government's chief executive, promotion of human rights and gender equality and economic improvements.

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ELSEWHERE

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-- Sporadic demonstrations have erupted in recent weeks in other Middle Eastern and northern African nations, such as Algeria, Djibouti, Jordan, Oman, Kuwait and Sudan and in the Palestinian territories.

ELSEWHERE

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-- Sporadic demonstrations have erupted in recent weeks in other Middle Eastern and northern African nations, such as Algeria, Djibouti, Jordan, Oman, Kuwait and Sudan and in the Palestinian territories.

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