The civil unrest in Yemen has turned increasingly violent in recent weeks and has spread far beyond Sanaa, the capital.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh is still recovering from injuries he suffered in an attack on his presidential attack a few weeks ago. He is still in Saudia Arabia.
Meanwhile, groups of protesters and soldiers continue to clash, with the latest incident resulting in more than 40 deaths at a government control center in Zinjibar, a city in the south of the country. The city has seen intense fighting in the past few days, including strikes by government airplanes, one resulting in civilian deaths.
Opposition leaders reported the defection of 300 soldiers, including 150 from the vaunted Republican Guards, which are led by the president's son. The other reported defectors belonged to Central Security and to police forces. They all joined other prominent defectors, including Brigadier General Ali Mohsen, previously one of Saleh's most trusted supporters. He and his forces are now guarding protesters in Sanaa.