Qaddafi's forces push rebels back from Sirte: March 29 Mideast update

World leaders meet in London to discuss their countries' role in Libya as rebels' westward advance is stalled. Syria's cabinet resigns. Yemen's protests pick back up.

Andrew Winning/Reuters
Rebel fighter returns fire after forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi attacked them near Bin Jawad in eastern Libya on Tuesday, March 29.

Check back weekday mornings for a quick tally of the latest developments in the Middle East and North Africa.


Members of the international coalition forces intervening in Libya are meeting today in London to clarify what their role will be now that NATO has assumed command of all military action. British Foreign Secretary William Hague says a priority is mapping out a plan for a post-Qaddafi democratic future in Libya.

Last night, President Barack Obama addressed the US on Libya, but gave no indication whether similar interventions could happen elsewhere in the Middle East, where leaders' efforts to put down uprisings have turned violent.

On the ground, Muammar Qaddafi's forces succeeded in halting the rebel forces' westward advance, which was nearing Sirte, and pushing them back to Bin Jawwad, which the rebels had taken on Monday.


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's cabinet resigned today, one of a few concessions that have been offered in a (so far unsuccessful) attempt to quell more than a week of antigovernment uprisings throughout the country. Mr. Assad is expected to address the country tonight, possibly to announce repeal of the country's emergency law, which has been in place for decades.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians staged demonstrations of their own in Damascus Tuesday in support of Assad, who still commands significant loyalty among citizens.


Protests flared up again on Tuesday as demonstrators reiterated their demands for the removal of President Ali Abdullah Saleh from office. Protests had subsided over the weekend because they did not want to disrupt or undermine power transfer talks, which stalled on Monday.

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