Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
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Posted: Jun 26, 2011 5:46 PM
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

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SYRIA

Syrian forces open fire at funerals for slain political protesters, a human rights activist says, leaving two more people dead as Syria tries to subdue weeks of demonstrations against President Bashar Assad.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, the London-based director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says the two were killed Saturday in al-Kaswa, a suburb of the Syrian capital. Security forces opened fire when the funerals for protesters killed on Friday turned into protests themselves.

Abdul-Rahman says one person was also killed Saturday in Damascus' Barzeh neighborhood and two were killed in the village of al-Quseir, near the Lebanese border.

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LIBYA

Rebels in Libya's western mountains say they have advanced and are battling Moammar Gadhafi's forces in a strategic town southwest of the capital, ramping up pressure against government troops on a second front.

The rebels' claim of an advance into the outskirts of the town of Bair al-Ghanam, some 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Tripoli, follows weeks of intense fighting in the Nafusa mountains in which opposition forces have slowly pushed Gadhafi troops back toward the capital.

A rebel military spokesman in the Nafusa mountains, Gomaa Ibrahim, says opposition fighters and government troops have been fighting since early Sunday on the periphery of Bair al-Ghanam.

The town is significant because it is only 19 miles (30 kilometers) south of the city of Zawiya, a key western gateway to the capital and home to a crucial oil refinery.

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EGYPT

A senior member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood says he is forming a new political party as the Islamic fundamentalist group rapidly splinters. Last week, several young members broke off and launched a rival to the Brotherhood's main Freedom and Justice Party.

Khaled Dawoud, a senior Brotherhood figure, says he and other members are forming a separate party to be called al-Riyada, Arabic for The Pioneers. He risks forfeiting Brotherhood membership as the group has banned members from forming separate parties.

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YEMEN

The powerful son of Yemen's embattled leader voices support for efforts spearheaded by the opposition and the acting president to find a solution to the nation's political turmoil.

In a statement issued by his office, Ahmed Saleh, who controls the elite Republican Guards, expresses his backing for attempts led by Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and opposition leaders to "reach a solution to the current crisis."

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters rally across Yemen, demanding that President Ali Abdullah Saleh's family and members of his inner circle leave the country.

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MOROCCO

Tens of thousands of people demonstrate around Morocco both for and against a proposed new constitution, just a week before it is to be voted on in a referendum.

In Morocco's largest city, Casablanca, government supporters first block then attack with rocks a march by thousands of activists, wounding many.

King Mohammed VI announced a new constitution June 17 following unprecedented nationwide protests for greater freedoms in the preceding months.

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TUNISIA

A gang of ultraconservative Islamists attack a movie theater in downtown Tunis because it was showing a film about secularism.

Around 100 bearded men shouting "God is great" smash the windows of Cinema Afrique, where the movie "Neither God nor master" by France-based Tunisian director Nadia Feni is playing.

An AP reporter saw eight of them forcing their way inside and attacking filmgoers, including prominent directors, before being apprehended by police.

Tunisia's former regime ruthlessly cracked down on political Islam. Since its downfall in popular protests, however, Islamists have become more active.