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Syria, Kuwait (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Another Meeting, Another Occupation, More Deaths

Al Jazeera English reports on the occupation of the Kuwaiti Parliament building

See also Syria Feature: The Economic Implosion is Underway
Thursday's Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: An Attack on a Major Military Complex?

2206 GMT: An impressive evening demonstration in Harasta, Damascus, on the outskirts of the city (MAP). The logos of the Syrian State media, as well as other news logos (we saw NBN, Lebanon's National Broadcasting Network) are scratched out, but international news logos are raised high:

2159 GMT: More details on the sitaution near Ma'arrat an Nouman:

Idlib: Maarat Nouman: Rocket propelled grenades and tank shells shower the residents of Wadi Aldayf following the defection of soldiers and news of civilian casualities

According to the LCCS, house to house raids have also started in the city and surrounding towns.

2141 GMT: More military bombardment is reported in Ma'arrat Shamsheh, near Ma'arrat an Nouman, Idlib province (MAP). The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a death in the area (MAP):

A civilian was killed earlier in the town of Telmens in the city of Maarat Al-Numaan, in Idlib province, when guards at a security barricade have opened fire at his car.

2132 GMT: We are tracking two developments, where live fire has been used against evening protests in two Damascus suburbs, Douma (MAP) and Yabroud (MAP). In Yabroud, the narrative is confusing, but it appears that the security forces would not allow protesters to disperse, but instead surrounded them. Live fire can be heard at several points, though what exactly is happening in the video is unclear:

In Douma, protests outside a mosque were attacked by soldiers and an anti-riot vehicle that reportedly fired machine gun rounds:

2120 GMT: The Egyptian health ministry is now saying that 29 people were injured in an attack on Coptic protesters in Cairo:

The men threw stones and petrol bombs at the marchers before being dispersed by Central Security forces, who fired tear gas.

Al Jazeera posts two pictures of the attackers, one featuring a boy with a machete approaching the crowd:

1835 GMT: The LCCS reports that at least 12 people have been killed today in Syria, but that number is expected to rise:

The number of martyrs has increased to 12 martyrs including two children and four defected soldiers, five martyr in Hama Suburbs, and three martyrs in idlib, two martyrs in each of Hama and Deir Ezzor

1712 GMT: Hundreds protest at the funeral for Mustafa al-Ammari in Daraa:

1659 GMT: An activist posts this picture, reportedly taken today in Sana'a, Yemen:

Yemen: Defected army soldiers standing on top of walls of their camp greet anti-government protesters in Sanaa

1651 GMT: Al Jazeera adds some details about the clashes in Cairo:

At least seven people were injured in Cairo today after a march to honour those who died during an army crackdown on October 9 came under attack from neighbourhood men.

Thousands of mostly Christian marchers fought with locals from the Bulaq neighbourhood who threw stones.

Central Security forces dispersed the clash with tear gas and separated the two sides. Witnesses said those opposed to the march chanted, "Islamic, Islamic".

If the report is accurate, it is worth adding some context. The Bulaq neighborhood has been the cite of several clashes between Muslims and Christians in recent months. While this is yet another troubling sign of problems for the Copts, thus far the majoirty of the violence against them has come from a small minority of Muslims, and the police who have disrupted the Coptic protests.

1644 GMT: Thousands protest in Taiz, Yemen's second largest city, demanding a trial for President Ali Abdullah Saleh and denying calls for his immunity:

1639 GMT: Every day we report casualties, death tolls... numbers. It's important to remember the human effect of the brutal violence in Syria. This video shows the daughter of Mohammad Burhan, crying over her father's body. He was reportedly killed today in Zabadani, a Damascus suburb:

1631 GMT: The Guardian reports that a protest of approximately 400 Coptic Christians have been attacked by a crowd of Muslims in Cairo, injuring 10. The march was commemorating the 40th day of mourning for the 27 protesters killed in the Maspero incident, when the Egyptian police and military fired on Coptic Christians and Muslims who were protesting the lack of rights and protection for the Copts.

1624 GMT: Back from a meeting to find a significant development in Syria. The Syrian Free Army has conducted an attack on a military instillation in Zabadani, Damascus (MAP):

In its latest update, attributed to it FSA leader Colonel Riad Assad, the group said it carried out a "sophisticated operation" involving rocket propelled grenade against a political security building in Zabanani, north west of Damascus.

The update, translated by Mona Mahmood, said the attack led to damage to the building and injuries to "Assad worshipers".

While the claim is unconfirmed, Zabadani is less than 40 km from the center of Damascus, a clear sign that the SFA is both more capable and more bold than they have ever been.

James Miller takes the wheel.

1400 GMT: A march in Aldair in Bahrain on Wednesday night demands the release of detainees --- the protesters hold the flags of other revolutionary Arab countries to show solidarity:

1350 GMT: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, speaking to an energy forum in Istanbul, has called for stronger action by the international community against Damascus: "The world may not be following Syria with sufficient care and sensitivity because it is not a wealthy country in terms of energy resources. Syria may not be drawing attention as much as Libya because it does not have sufficient oil resources."

Erdoğan continued, "The silence and unresponsiveness of those who have an appetite for Libya to the massacres in Syria is creating irreparable wounds in the conscience of humanity."

1340 GMT: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said insurgent have attacked youth offices of the ruling Baath party in Idlib Province in northwest Syria. There was no immediate word on any casualties.

The Observatory said, "A group of dissident troops attacked regime youth offices, where security agents were meeting, with rocket-propelled grenades and clashes broke out."

Activists also report mass arrests in Hama Province, a day after defectors attacked an army checkpoint.

1320 GMT: Residents and opposition sources have said that Wednesday's attack by the Free Syrian Army on an Air Force Intelligence complex in Harasta, northeast of the Syrian capital Damascus, killed or wounded 20 security police.

"The defectors used rocket-propelled grenades and machineguns and managed to inflict casualties on those who were within the...outer wall," said an operative involved in supplying the defectors.

A resident of Harasta said there were no casualties among the attackers in an operation that lasted for 10 minutes. He said the defectors were mostly from the Damascus suburbs of Harasta and Douma.

Meanwhile, residents said around 70 people have been arrested in the last 24 hours, with roadblocks set up and Air Force Intelligence agents with RPGs raiding houses and destroying several businesses as their trucks patrolled the area.

1240 GMT: The Syrian State news agency declares, "Tens of Tunisian citizens on Wednesday gathered in front of the Arab League headquarters" to condemn the Arab League's suspension of Damascus.

Observers note --- although SANA does not --- that the protesters were members of the Tunisian Ba'ath Party, linking to the ruling Ba'ath regime in Syria.

SANA also publicises a statement by the Ministry of Interior that it will prosecute anyone who attacks foreign embassies in Syria, follows a series of raids and vandalism by protesters over the last five days: "The ministry warns anyone who tries to violate the sanctity of diplomatic buildings, or tries to enter or cause any damage to these missions, that (authorities) will take appropriate legal measures against perpetrators including arrest and trial."

1220 GMT: Developments on the international front over Syria....

Morocco has withdrawn its ambassador, citing attacks on its embassy in Damascus.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, calling for talks between the regime and opposition, has said, "We see television reports that say some new force, the so-called Free Syrian Army I believe, organised an attack on a government building... belonging to the Syrian armed forces. This is already completely similar to real civil war."

1150 GMT: A striking first-hand account provided by the blog Maysaloon:

H had been active in the protests that had been regularly taking place in the Meedan area of Damascus. The picture he painted of life in the city was illuminating. Coming from a traditional Damascene family, H describes how people speak frankly of their position regarding the regime. He and his friends speak of a Damascus where protests were regularly taking place after Friday prayers at each mosque.

Security services are edgy and tense, and respond with live fire or overwhelming force when a demonstration starts. H described meeting five of his friends so far, each of whom had been detained and beaten for some time, emerging from the prisons more confident and eager to continue protesting. Far from crushing their spirits, the regime is strengthening the determination of protesters.

The Damascus merchants were said to be providing the LCC [opposition Local Coordination Committees] and the revolutionaries their Ramadan alms, and he said that one individual volunteered four satellite phones (at the cost of half a million Syrian pounds each approximately) that he had bought on the black market, and arranged to have them sent to different people in the country. Far from a monolithic state, the Assad regime is seen internally as shaky and unable to maintain effective control at all places and all the time. An unconfirmed story he told me was that even the officers at the detention centres are unhappy with what is happening with the country. People are donating a lot to the revolution, according to H, though to whom and how he could not say.

He also noted how quickly people have become interested in politics, and that this is all that many people discuss. Nobody believes that Assad will make it through this crisis, but it is still not clear what alternative many people are seeking. H was sceptical of fears that Syria would be run by an Islamist government should Assad fall, and he felt that actors such as the Muslim Brotherhood were dinosaurs from a past age whose time had passed. The thing that made him most happy was that the fear which had paralysed a generation of Syrians is no longer there. He was also of the opinion that many Christians have joined the protests, though they have some fear about the future since they are a minority.

0920 GMT: Rafah Nashed, Syria's first practising female psychoanalyst, was among 1180 prisoners released by Damascus on Tuesday, according to friends and family.

Nashed was detained in September, after she hosted meetings where people could talk about their fears amidst the current conflict.

0910 GMT: Bahrain's five major opposition societies have announced a mass rally "For Democracy" tomorrow:

0545 GMT: More than 30 people died on Wednesday in clashes in Syria, according to activists, as the balance --- 14 regime soldiers and 17 civilians --- reinforced the shift to armed conflict within the country, hours after the Free Syrian Army had attacked an Air Force Intelligence building outside Damascus.

Meanwhile, the diplomatic manoeuvring brought an "OK, this is now your final deadline" as the Arab League, meeting in Morocco, gave the Assad regime three more days "to stop the bloody repression"  or face economic sanctions.

Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, the Qatari foreign minister, said, "I don't want to speak about last chances so [Syria] doesn't think it is being given an ultimatum, but we are almost at the end of the line," he said.

The League also said it would send international observers to Syria, but only if Damascus agreed.

Protest last night in Ibta in Daraa Province in southern Syria:

Syrian developments were overtaken last night, however, with the unexpected break-out of a brief occupation of the Parliament builiding in Kuwait, as demonstrators sang the national anthem in the main chamber. Angered at an effective exemption of the Prime Minister from investigation for corruption,A crowd --- thousands according to claims in social media, hundreds according to Al Jazeera English ---  staged a demonstration outside the complex. 

Earlier on Wednesday, protesters marched towards Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah's home to demand his resignation, but police used batons to prevent their advance.

Witnesses said at least five demonstrators were injured and treated on the site.

Tension has risen over allegations that more than a dozen of Kuwait's 50 MPs received about $350 million in bribes. About 20 opposition legislators boycotted a Parliamentary session on Wednesday after the Government and its supporters blocked a move to question the Prime Minister, who was appointed in February 2006 and has resigned on six occasions since then.

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