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Yemen, Syria, Libya (and Beyond) LiveBlog: A Battle in the Capital

Sounds and images of Monday's battle in Sanaa in Yemen (see 0500 GMT):

2040 GMT: Yemeni officials say 38 people have died in the clashes in the capital Sanaa, 24 from the regime's security forces and 14 supporters of tribal leader Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar.

1915 GMT: Thanks to James Miller for taking the LiveBlog through the afternoon.

Reports from Yemen indicate that supporters of the tribal leader Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar now control the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Education buildings.

1900 GMT: This used to be a nice place, a popular restaraunt on Tripoli Street, Misurata, Libya. 

1727 GMT: Shokri-ng News - For a while now, a controversy has surrounded Libya oil minister Shokri Ghanem. Several reports suggested that he was defecting the Libyan government. However, a new report suggests that he is really on a secret mission, on behalf of Colonel Gaddafi, to negotiate with oil companies that formerly purchased Libyan oil from the regime. Citing sources in the oil industry, Reuters is reporting that Ghanem is attempting to ensure that oil contracts will be honored if the Gaddafi regime manages to recapture the oil fields from the rebels. 

1700 GMT: James Miller here, back from lunch to find some more information out of Syria...

Earlier we posted video of a protest in Homs today. Al Jazeera has now posted a video from Baath University (which is run by the Syrian government) in Homs, showing students holding signs calling for freedom. At the end of the video, students can be overheard chanting "No education until the government is toppled."

1619 GMT: The World Bank has announced that they are making $6 Billion available to the fledgling governments in Egypt and Tunisia during this year and next in order to assist with their transition to a democracy. Tunisia's funding will also help with the refugees flooding its borders from Libya. 

1613 GMT: An activist in Damascus reports that 15 people have been arrested today in anti-government demonstrations in Arnous Square, Damascus.

1600 GMT: Bahrain: An activist website is reporting that a 14 year old boy, Mohamed Ibrahim Khatam, is facing a a Military Court this morning. No word on the result. 

1542 GMT: The editor of the Yemen Times is updating a map of the conflicts in Sana'a. The isolated shape in the northeast is Hasaba, the area where today's violence has occured. (thank you to the Guardian for pointing this out)

View Sana'a in a larger map

1500 GMT: Russia has given limited recognition to Libya's opposition National Transitional l Council in a carefully-worded statement after a meeting between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and NTC representative Abdel Rahman Shalgam.

Lavrov said, "The Transitional National Council does not seek to be recognized as the only legitimate representative of the Libyan people, but wants to be seen as a legitimate partner in negotiations on Libya's future."

1438 GMT: The Syrian human rights organization Sawasiah is reporting that they have collected the names of over 1,100 civilians who have been killed in the last two months of fighting. 

1416 GMT: The Guardian's Tom Finn reports that more tanks are heading towards Hasaba, the embattled area in Yemen, but is is careful to note that the reports of civil war are overplayed:

"I can't tell which is louder, the mortar fire in Sana'a right now or the media's beating of the civil war drum."

He cautions that, so far, this fighting has been limited to a single group of tribesmen. The violence is intense, and dangerous, but it is not a war between thousands of protesters and the government. He also raises the idea that President Saleh may have sparked this conflict in an attempt to paint the protesters as terrorists.


1407 GMT: BBC Arabic is carrying video of smoke rising from the interior ministry in Sanaa, Yemen, where tribesmen have taken over the building. 

Voice of America is reporting that seven have been killed, though this number seems to be rising rapidly with each new report from the country. 

1354 GMT: Activist Ibrahim Mothana has this report from Yemen:

"Heavy clashes continues in #Sanaa and Hashid tribesmen control the building of the Ministry of Interior.

"A new tribal mediation is trying to stop the heavy clashes between security forces and Hashid tribesmen in .

"Tanks and republican guards reinforcements is heading towards Hasaba st.

"Violence will negatively affect the protests and will turn the dream of a Peaceful Revolution into a nightmare of a Civil War."

1342 GMT: Late yesterday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mualem gave an interview in which he says that recent EU sanctions designed to hurt Syria will help Israel and hinder further reform. He also said that these actions will force Syria to develop closer ties with Russia and China

James Miller notes that other nations, specifically Sudan and Iran, have followed a similar pattern of turning towards Russia and China when they are sanctioned by Europe and the US. Earlier this motnh 13 high ranking Syrian officials were named the target of Sanctions, and the EU is set to add ten more names to that list today.

1329 GMT: Yet another sign of defiance, as a large crowd of protesters gather in Homs, Syria.

1325 GMT: Iona Craig has this report from Yemen:

"Impossible to confirm but people in Hasaba now saying al-Ahmar's men have taken Interior Ministry. Hasaba residents abandoning area. Could be a long walk to find a ride out of here."

1318 GMT: James Miller reporting for duty...

According to Al Jazeera English, the General Prosecutor in Egypt has given the go-ahead to try Hosni Mubarak, his two sons, and a close advisor, in criminal court. The really big news - They are being directly charged with the death of protesters. This is breaking news. more details soon... 

1210 GMT: Journalist Iona Craig reports from Sanaa in Yemen: "Fighting more intense than this time yesterday in [neighbourhood of] Hasaba + more regular shelling. Area cordoned off larger."

1035 GMT: Libya's opposition National Transitional Council will open an office in Washington.


US Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman made the announcement after a two-day trip to Benghazi, the capital of the opposition in east Libya.

Feltman said the NTC spoke for Libyans but he stopped short of giving it formal recognition: "There is [an] ongoing diplomatic, political relationship and dialogue with members of the council who are considered by our fellows credible and legitimate representatives of the Libyan people."

1030 GMT: Two Bahraini journalists working for Western media have been detained by police this week

Mazen Mahdi, who works for the German news agency DPA, said he and a reporter for France 24 were summoned on Sunday: "They questioned me about my Twitter postings, stories published on DPA, and if I had links to Lebanese or Iranian media."

Mahdi said he was held for several hours, handcuffed, blindfolded and beaten about the head until a senior officer arrived to interrogate him.

0945 GMT: Clashes have continued this morning in the Yemeni capital Sanaa between troops supporting President Saleh and guards of the dissident tribal leader Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar.

0620 GMT: NATO warplanes carried out more than 20 airstrikes within a half-hour on the Libyan capital Tripoli early today, striking around Muammar Qaddafi's residential compound.

Regime spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said at least three people were killed and 150 wounded, most of them civilians.

NATO said that a number of the strikes hit a vehicle storage facility adjacent to the Bab al-Aziziya compound. It was not clear if the facility was the only target.

0500 GMT: We begin again in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. A day after the bizarre collapse of the deal for a transition of power, with armed supporters of President Saleh trapping envoys in the Embassy of the UAE, there was a twist in the military situation.

Anti-Saleh tribesmen battled regime soldiers and seized the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the State news agency Saba.

At least 14 were killed and 36 injured in the clashes.  A source in the ministry said gunmen killed all the guards.

The tribesmen also attacked the headquarters of the national air carrier, Yemenia Airways, and a number of other government buildings, setting some of them on fire.

Earlier in the day, the battle had begun near the house of Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar, the leader of the powerful Hashid tribe, killing two of his supporters and injuring 25. All-Ahmar has turned against President Saleh.

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