Latest developments in Mideast unrest

AP News
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Posted: Aug 19, 2011 5:50 PM
Latest developments in Mideast unrest

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SYRIA

Syrian security forces kill at least 20 protesters despite promises by President Bashar Assad that the military operations against the 5-month-old uprising are over. The killings, which came as thousands poured into the streets across Syria, suggest the autocratic leader is either unwilling to stop the violence _ or not fully in control of his own regime.

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LIBYA

Moammar Gadhafi's forces launch a fierce counterattack in a strategic western city, firing rockets, mortar shells and anti-aircraft guns in a bid to keep the rebels from gaining complete control and advancing toward the nearby capital. NATO's bombing campaign has made it difficult for the regime to send massive reinforcements to Zawiya, enabling the rebels to maintain a foothold in their biggest prize in months. But the fierce onslaught by regime forces signaled an opposition push toward Tripoli, Gadhafi's main stronghold, would be arduous and bloody.

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BAHRAIN

A senior Shiite cleric in Bahrain says Sunni Gulf leaders are showing double standards by supporting Arab uprisings elsewhere while aiding Bahrain's crackdown on its pro-reform protests. Sheik Isa Qassim says Shiite-led calls for greater rights in Bahrain are being ignored by Gulf neighbors that have backed other revolts, such as those in Syria and Libya.