Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, increasingly cornered under a stunning upturn in NATO airstrikes, lashed back Wednesday with renewed shelling of the western city of Misrata, killing 10 rebel fighters. The international alliance said it remained determined to keep pounding Gadhafi forces from the air, but would play no military role in the transition to democratic rule in the oil-rich North African country once the erratic leader’s 42-year rule ends.
In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Gadhafi’s days in power are clearly numbered, making it imperative for the international community, the United Nations in particular, to gear up to help Libyans establish a new form of government.
In Syria, thousands of elite troops led by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s brother converged on a restive northern area, and neighboring villages warned that the convoys of tanks were approaching, a resident and a Syrian activist said.
Syrian forces have lost control of large areas of the northern province, a pro-government newspaper reports, in a rare acknowledgment of cracks in the regime’s tight grip after weeks of protest calling for an end to its 40-year rule. The separate reports raise the prospect of more bloodshed in Syria’s nationwide crackdown on the 11-week revolt. The region borders Turkey, which says it would open the border to Syrians fleeing violence.
Tunisia will hold an election Oct. 23, not in July as planned, because conditions are not yet right for the first vote since the ouster of the country’s autocratic president, the prime minister announces. Tunisia’s fledgling experiment with democracy is being closely watched around the world because the popular uprising in the country sparked pro-democracy revolts around the region. The success or failure of elections in Tunisia would send a strong signal to other nations in the region.