NATO has agreed in principle to expand its role in Libya. Along with enforcing the no-fly zone over the country, it will also take the lead in protecting civilians, said the commander of U.S. Africa Command.
Gen. Carter Ham told CNN that coalition forces have achieved a "large degree of success."
"We do have an arms embargo. We do have a no-fly zone and we have halted a very serious assault by Libyan regime forces toward the city of Benghazi," Ham said.
But Ham admits complete success has not been achieved.
"We find these (Gadhafi) regime forces taking cover inside built-up areas where they know, because of our concern for civilian casualties, that - that we won't - we won't strike in there. So it's a tough, tough situation right now."
Tonight on 360° we'll talk with CNN's Nic Robertson in Tripoli and Arwa Damon in Benghazi. We'll also talk strategy with former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Wesley Clark.
There's also the deadly uprising in Syria. Dozens of people were killed in demonstrations today. We'll talk with an eyewitness to chaos in Daraa. We also have remarkable video of protests.
The demonstrators are fed up with the government of President Bashar al-Assad. They want reforms and the government has responded to some of their demands. Among them a raise in government workers' salaries by 1,500 Syrian pounds ($32.60 US) a month, more job opportunities and a crackdown on government corruption.
And in Japan, there's a potentially dangerous development. Officials fear a core reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may be leaking high levels of radiation. We'll talk with nuclear power plant expert Michael Friedlander and MIT's Jim Walsh.
Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET.
The top commander of the U.S. military operation in Libya says NATO has agreed in principle to take over not only the no-fly zone, but also the broader mission of protecting civilians. We'll have the latest developments from Tripoli and Benghazi. Plus, dire concerns in Japan after a troubling day at the crippled nuclear power plant.
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CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - Violent protests erupted Friday in Syria, with dozens of people people killed in and around the restive city of Daraa and a boy slain in the coastal town of Latakia, reports said.
"The situation in Syria has worsened considerably over the past week, with the use of live ammunition and tear gas by the authorities having resulted in a total of at least 37 people being killed in Daraa, including two children," said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Among the dead were 15 people who tried to march to Daraa, sources said, and nine others who died when security forces fired on demonstrators in Daraa's main square, said Wissam Tarif, a human rights activist.
There were many casualties in Daraa, said Abdullah, who asked that his full name not be reported due to security concerns. He said he saw Friday's events in the city, where deadly clashes have taken place in recent days between security forces and protesters.
"Thousands gathered and moved to the governor's building in Daraa, and there they burned a large picture of Bashar al-Assad, and then they toppled a statue of Hafez al-Assad in the center of the square," Abdullah said, referring to the current president and his late father, the former president.
"After that, armed men came out from the roof of the officers' club in front of the governor's office and started firing at the crowd," he said.
Aman al Aswad, an opposition activist, said dozens of people appeared to have been killed or wounded in clashes with security forces in the square, but he could not be precise on the totals.
CNN could not independently confirm the accounts as the Syrian government has yet to grant access to the network.
CNN Wire Staff
Tripoli, Libya (CNN) - NATO has agreed in principle to take the lead in protecting Libyan civilians and will work out details this weekend, said the top commander of a U.S. mission that already is enforcing a no-fly zone in the war-torn country.
Gen. Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command, also said on CNN's "The Situation Room" Friday that removing leader Moammar Gadhafi by military means is not the aim of the mission and that the coalition is not arming rebel forces.
And the general claimed "we have achieved already a large degree of success" - including an arms embargo, the no-fly zone and the halting of loyalist troops near the rebel-held city of Benghazi.
President Barack Obama will update the nation at 7:30 p.m. ET Monday from the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C., the White House announced.
NATO this weekend is expected to take over control of the no-fly zone from the United States.
But Ham acknowledged that challenges remain.
Washington (CNN) - The domestic political stakes of America's military intervention in Libya grew Friday, with critics continuing to question the mission's organization, cost and consequences.
The Obama administration, meanwhile, worked to balance promises of a rapid U.S. transition to a supporting role with an apparent unwillingness among coalition partners to have NATO assume full control of the mission.
President Obama conducted a conference call and meeting with congressional leaders to provide an update on the conflict and attempt to address their concerns. Democrats appeared more satisfied than Republicans.
"The president gave a very clear, very strong presentation," said Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Michigan. "He clearly answered the questions about the mission and planned schedule for the handoff of the principal responsibility for population protection to NATO and Arab countries."
But Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Republicans "appreciated the update" but still believe "much more needs to be done by the administration to provide clarity, particularly to the American people, on the military objective in Libya, America's role, and how it is consistent with U.S. policy goals."
According to a White House statement, 21 senators and House members met with Obama and his national security team in the White House Situation Room.
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Recording artists Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks perform at Philips Arena on March 24, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
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