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Friday
Oct212011

Libya, Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Goodbye to Qaddafi, Hello to....?

From left to right: Zine El Abedine Bin Ali of Tunisia (fled January 2011), Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen (still in power), Muammar Qaddafi of Libya (killed 20 October 2011), and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt (overthrown February 2011, on trial October 2011)

See also Libya Snap Analysis: Three Down --- How Many To Go?
Libya Video: The Moment When Muammar Qaddafi Was Seized
Libya Video: The Man Who Found Qaddafi Tells His Story
Thursday's Libya (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Qaddafi Captured --- Is He Dead?


2104 GMT: The United Nations has passed a security council resolution calling for Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh to stop killing civilians and to step down in accordance with international plans. According to the AFP:

The UN Security Council passed a resolution calling on Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh to sign a deal to end deadly attacks on protesters and under which he would quit.

The resolution, on Friday, unanimously agreed by the 15 members, "strongly condemns" government violence against demonstrators and backs a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) peace plan under which Saleh would end his 33 years in power.

2028 GMT: Before this week, we were not aware of a particularly vibrant opposition in al Harak, Syria, in Daraa province. Now, the place looks like a military base. This video shows tanks positioned by the side of a major road:

2016 GMT: This video was reportedly taken in Al Tal, Damascus, today. A large amount of security can be seen wandering the streets, and gunfire can be heard off screen:

1958 GMT: This is another video from Bab Amr, Homs. It shows what we believe to be facing the opposite direction from the one that we posted at 1820 GMT. In otherwords, from the videographer's position, the entire neighborhood is on fire:

1840 GMT: DRAMATIC VIDEO: The Bab Amr district of Homs is rocked by shelling. Two updates ago we posted a video of smoke rising from the neighborhood. This video clearly shows the severe violence that the Syrian military unleashed on the city today.

Besides the heavy gunfire and the loud explosions, note that some of the shells explode in the air. These are anti-personnel weapons, designed to inflict large amounts of casualties.

1833 GMT: We heard reports of protests in Jassim, Daraa, Syria.Now, an activist shares two videos, the first reportedly showing a funeral for a martyr:

The second video, however, shows a child, reportedly 8 years old, injured in Jassim. Despite his injuries, he chants "Allah u Akhbar." (Graphic video)

1820 GMT: This video was reportedly taken in Babr Amr, Homs, today (MAP). Artillery shells are reportedly responsible for the rising smoke.

1808 GMT: The LCCS is reporting that there have been mass arrests across the Syria today, and at least 24 people have been killed so far:

24 documented martyrs so far, 19 martyrs from Homs, 3 martyrs from Hama and it’s Suburbs, and a martyr each in Saqba in Damascus Suburbs and Idlib.

1644 GMT: Al Jazeera reports on violence in Yemen today:

The first armored division led by Ali Muhsen have said that at least 8 civilians killed and more than 30 others injured inside their homes in Sanaa by the heavy shelling of president Ali Saleh forces during the past 24 hours.

Moreover 13 soldiers killed and more than 24 others injured from the army support the youth revolution.

1641 GMT: Obama is expected to speak in moments. You can view his conference here.

1636 GMT: US President Barack Obama is expected to announce that all US combat troops will be pulled out of Iraq before the end of the year. The US government wanted to keep thousands of troops in the country, but failed to successfully negotiate that move with Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki, who wishes the US forces to withdraw:

The two leaders were also expected to agree to continue informally discussing the need for and the terms of a U.S. military presence in Iraq into next year, those people familiar with the agreement said. As a result, the only U.S. military presence that will remain in Iraq after the end of the year will be the roughly 150 troops needed to protect the large U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad and its thousands of American diplomats and other personnel.

1622 GMT: An activist in Syria shares this picture, where protesters have spelled out "Down goes Bashar" with candles outside of the Arab League:

1613 GMT: Footage from Idlib, Syria, earlier. Apparently the people chant, " "Don't mess with the free people of Syria." Also, note the sign that thanks the BBC and Al Jazeera for their coverage (EA is probably thanked... we're sure our logo is just blocked or something):

1558 GMT: An EA source in Bahrain forwards us this video, reportedly showing police chasing and beating young women inside the City Centre in Manama:

1533 GMT: We have received a GRAPHIC VIDEO showing protesters trying to set up a field hospital to treat those who have been shot by Syrian military forces in the Bab Sbaa district of Homs. Some of the wounded appear to be younger than 18, including one man who is receiving chest compressions.

Now Lebanon, citing Al Jazeera, is reporting that 22 have been killed today in Syria.

1526 GMT: We're getting video from around Damascus that shows the massive security presence there. This one was reportedly taken in Saqba, a key suburb, and a location that has seen a lot of action this week:

Qatana, Damascus:

1521 GMT: This video, dated today, was reportedly taken in the Bab Sbaa (Lion's Gate) district of Homs, Syria. Protesters who appear unarmed are shot at while crossing the street. At the end of the video, several injured or killed civilians sit in a group, and some of them appear to be very young. This video, like so many recently, is graphic and disturbing:

1513 GMT: CNN's Mohammed Jamjoon reports on Yemen, where large protests were also held today:

Eyewitnesses say tens of thousands in Sana'a's Change Sq today, many chanting "Where is Gadhafi? Oh Saleh, learn from history"

Eyewitnesses say another chant heard in Change Sq today is "Saleh..look at where Gaddafi is now. His forces could not save his life"

1445 GMT: The Local Coordinating Committees of Syria have released an official letter of congratulations to the people of Libya. Here is an excerpt (read the entire statement here):

This third great victory for the Arab Revolutions sends a critical message to the region, the people suffering under other tyrants, and the world at large. Therefore, there is no turning back from the demands for freedom, or from the dear and generous blood and souls of those who perished in the fight.

We, as participants in a similar battle for freedom, congratulate the Libyan people’s great victory. We call upon all Libyans and dissidents to value justice and accountability over revenge and retaliation. We consider the toppling of the corrupt regime to be but the first fundamental step in building a state for all its citizens and components, including different political and social values or religious and ideological beliefs.

Moreover, the events prove to us that the security and military option failed in its attempt to crush the will of the people for freedom, justice, and equality.

1442 GMT: While we're still tracking down information from Aleppo, Syria, we find this video, showing a large security presence in Bab, Aleppo:

1438 GMT: Below, we see Qaddafi's body in a meat locker in Misurata, while the NTC decides what to do with it. Likely, his funeral will be secret, according to unnamed NTC officials.

1433 GMT: The Guardian gives the official account of how Colonel Muammar Qaddafi died, according to a forsensic doctor's report read by Mahmoud Jabril:

"I am going to read to you a report by the forensic doctor who examined Gaddafi," Mahmoud Jibril told a news conference in the capital, Tripoli.

"It said: 'Gaddafi was taken out of a sewage pipe … he didn't show any resistance. When we started moving him he was hit by a bullet in his right arm and when they put him in a truck he did not have any other injuries.'"'When the car was moving it was caught in crossfire between the revolutionaries and Gaddafi forces in which he was hit by a bullet in the head.'"

"The forensic doctor could not tell if it came from the revolutionaries or from Gaddafi's forces," Jibril said.

1425 GMT: The head of the NTC, Mahmoud Jabril, gave a report from a forensic doctor about the wounds that killed Muatassim Qaddafi:

"As for Mutassim there is a wound in the head and a break in the skull and five bullets in the back and one in the neck," Jibril said.

The video is short, but shows Muatassim Qaddafi smoking a cigarette. When did he receive the wound that killed him?

1414 GMT: Anti-government protests in Kafromeh, Idlib, Syria:

Anyone read Arabic? We'd love to know what the signs on the hanging dolls say.

1411 GMT: A very large protest in Tibet Imam, Hama, Syria. The sign is dated today.

Another protest in Hama:

1405 GMT: Activists are reporting protests in and around Damascus today, which is rare as usually they are broken up by security. As we reported earlier, there has been an intense security crackdown on mosques in Midan, Damascus.

Protesters in Qadam, Damascus, chant for Libya and for their own freedom. The sign held by the protester is dated today:

This video reportedly shows a protest in Arbeen, Damascus:

1400 GMT: An amazing video, reportedly a live feed from Friday prayer and protest in Idlib, Syria:


Video streaming by Ustream

1356 GMT: A disturbing video. According to some Arabic speaking activists who have seen this clip, Muammar Qaddafi may utter his last words, "this is sinful, this is sinful, you don't know sin..." We cannot verify those details:

1351 GMT: Protesters in Daraya, a large suburb of Damascus, Syria call for the execution of the president and shout their support for the besieged city of Homs:

1348 GMT: According to a reliable and important Syrian activist, there has been raid on the important Damascus district of Midan.

"Well before prayer time Bashar forces entered Midan in Damascus and laid siege to all the mosques... Bashar forces had printed photos of those wanted for participating in previous protests. They were also checking IDs."

1344 GMT: According to a prominent Saudi blogger:

AJA: 16 people killed in different cities in #Syria, activists said. LCCs member on phone says: it's a real massacre in Homs today.

1332 GMT: AFP posts yet another picture of Muatassim Qaddafi, sitting up, drinking water, and in NTC custody. This is the clearest evidence that we have seen yet that suggests that he was executed while in custody of the NTC:

1317 GMT: BBC Foreign Editor Jon Williams shares this video. This is the earliest clip that we have seen (we think, besides our feature which appears to show the moment of his capture) of a captured and bloody Muammar Qaddafi. Reportedly, the video shows Qaddafi begging for his life. As for visible clues, it is obvious that he does not have a gunshot wound to the stomach at this point:

1307 GMT: An activist shares this video, reportedly showing a very large protest in the Salah Eddin neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria. If true, this is a significant development. Aleppo is an important merchant city, the second largest city in Syria, home to many middle-class families that have benefited from Assad's reign, and it has been under heavy security since the start of Arab Spring. Most protests get disrupted. We'll monitor the reports from Aleppo.

We cannot verify the details of the claim. Also note that at the end of the video the protesters appear to be running, perhaps because the protest was broken up:

1302 GMT: It's possible, but until we see pictures we have to doubt all of these reports, as they have consistently been wrong.

Arabic Al Aan TV's Jenan Moussa tweets this:

Seif El Islam wounded,caught by fighters.Seems he won't b killed. #NTC:We'll show Seif al-Eslam’s picture after bandaging his wounds. #libya

1258 GMT: While the search for answers, and for Saif Qaddafi, continues in Libya, Arab Spring is far from completed in many other countries.

In Bahrain, an activist uploads this video, reportedly showing a large police presence staged in the village of Nuwaidrat:

1252 GMT: Before and after. The first picture, provided by Al Jazeera, reportedly shows a bloody-but-clearly-alive Muatassim Qaddafi.

But this video is the best that we've seen yet, the bodies of Muatassim Qaddafi and his father Muammar Qaddafi after they have arrived in Misurata. This is the first evidence that we have seen that Muatassim, like his father, was likely executed while in custody of NTC fighters:

1245 GMT: James Miller takes the liveblog, and it looks like it will prove to be another busy Friday in the Middle East and North Africa.

The burials for Muatassim Qaddafi and his father, Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, have been halted, apparently due to international pressure, as more and more questions are being raised about the circumstances of their deaths.

Meanwhile, Muammaer Qaddafi's heir-apparent, Saif al Islam, is missing. According to senior NTC commanders, the worry is that Saif is attempting to flee to Niger.

0910 GMT: The fate of Libya's Muammar Qaddafi spurred protest in Bahrain last night, with marchers chanting, "Bahrain don't be afraid, [King] Hamad will be after Qaddafi" and "Hamad the dictator, it's your turn, it's your turn". Some of the numerous clips sent to us by sources, beginning with Mehaza:

In Karzakan, protesters demand the release of 14 women, sentenced to six months in prison for a demonstration at City Center Mall:

Protesters in Buri show support for detained opposition leader Hassan Mushaimaa:

0610 GMT: Mother Jones claims that a US firm is assisting Syrian President Assad's repression:

As the autocratic regime in Syria brutally cracks down on a pro-democracy opposition, it is using technology developed by an American company, Blue Coat Systems, to suppress dissent and block access to the internet, tech experts say.

Two weeks ago, Telecomix, a tech activist group, released information from the Syrian government-run Syria Telecommunications Establishment. The release revealed gigabytes of electronic records, called log files, dating back to late July and early August of this year, and the material indicates that Syria's government is using Blue Coat's devices to prevent its citizens from accessing social media, video-sharing, and other websites. By using the devices, the Syrian regime can block information about its abuses from getting out of the country and monitor web activity.

0600 GMT: In Yemen, opposition leaders have rejected President Saleh's demands for "guarantees" from the US, European nations, and Gulf states before he will sign the plan for the transition of power.

Opposition leader Mohammed Qahtan said Thursday that Saleh's refusal to step down amounted to a call for "war".

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative calls for Saleh to hand over power to a deputy. On Wednesday, Saleh --- who balked at the last minute on three occasions this spring after saying he would agree --- said he would only accept if he received a guaranteed timetable to implement the plan.

0500 GMT: While we sift through the postscripts of the story of former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, shot to death --- as was one of his sons --- on Thursday, we post a snap analysis looking beyond his end to the future for Libya and for other rulers and countries in the Middle East: "Three Down. How Many to Go?".

We feature the video testimony of the fighter from Misurata who claims he found Qaddafi, apparently wounded and dazed after an airstrike on his convoy fleeing Sirte.

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