Claimed footage of shelling of Bab Amro in Homs in Syria this morning
2240 GMT: Video surfaces from Bahrain of what appears to show riot police walking down a street and throwing a Molotov cocktail towards a building in a residential area. A fire ensues.
2150 GMT: This picture from Abusaiba village and the following video from Jid Hafs reveal the scale of tear being used against domestic populations at night:
2130 GMT: Josh Sharyar has spoken to people in Bahrain who can barely breathe inside their own homes. One contact's father won't stop coughing, and his son reports that he believes he might die tonight.
An EA correspondent is collecting reports of tear gas and has posted this map of all the affected areas. So far, 63 locations are reportedly covered in tear gas:
2048 GMT: An EA correspondent shares this picture, a tree on fire, lit by a teargas canister, outside of the home of a grandmother. The woman was evacuated before any serious damage, though she did inhale teargas.
2043 GMT: Another video reportedly taken today in Abu Saiba, Bahrain, clearly showing heavy use of teargas:
2035 GMT: This video reportedly shows protesters running from tear gas in Abu Saiba, Bahrain, this evening:
2023 GMT: Meanwhile, activist Fathiya Hayat was released from prison today. She was arrested 3 months ago for allowing two protesters to take shelter in her home, and activist Zainab Alkhawaja did not want to leave her prison cell unless Hayat was also released.
This picture shows here release.
2018 GMT: Bahrain is also a busy place tonight. An EA correspondent in Bahrain reports that tear gas is in the air in every village that he's been to so far this evening.
Human Rights activist and lawyer Reem Khalaf reports "My car is being attacked with rocks by ppl in civilian clothing who are attacking ppl alongside security forces."
God be with the ppl of Duraz, now covered in new tear gas, the worst kind yet. Suffocation!
Bani Jamra now the tear gas is worse than Duraz, its unbelievable!
Despite the suffocating smell protesters are out again in Duraz, they are shouting "they're killing us with this poison"
Now the protesters of Saar out on the streets again after being attacked the first time
Now with an injured protester who was beaten an hour ago. Riot police beat him with Batons on his head
17 yr old wasn't even protesting, he was inside a store that was attacked by riot police #bahrain (graphic picture)
Some families with children are fleeing their homes in the Budaiya street villages, out of fear from massive amounts of teargas
Now the owner of the store says when riot police attacked they beat every1 inside with batons
Then the riot police put their hands on each persons chest to check heart rate to see if any were protesting and ran in2 the store
Another activist posts the tragic consequences of teargas in residential neighborhoods:
1940 GMT: While the violence may last into the night in Syria, so too do defiant protests. In this video, reportedly taken in Hama, protesters vow to continue the revolution:
Athman, just north of Daraa:
Just heard some very sad news..
My aunt's cousin was just killed by Assad forces in BabAmr in #Homs earlier today.
He was delivering food & drinks to peaceful protesters when Assad forces shot at his car. Everyone in the car was killed.
He lives in UAE but traveled to #Syria telling his family: "What makes me different than the others. I want to die for my country too."
He was only 25 years old. He leaves behind 2 baby children and a beautiful wife who just became a young widow.
There is no way for EA to verify the report.
1914 GMT: Today's death toll, according to the LCCS, has risen to 23, "14 in Homs, 6 in Idlib, 1 in each Daraa, Hama, and Damascus suburbs." However, the report is only 20 mintues old and the LCCS has breaking news of 2 deaths in Idlib, a report from Moaddamiyat Al-Sham, a suburb of Damascus, that a soldier was shot for refusing to fire on civilians, and this report from Kisweh, Damascus:
Damascus Suburbs: Kesweh: Heavy shooting from the point of Marana (near 71 air defence brigade) and security is deploying heavily in the area.
Clearly, the violence does not sleep after sunset in Syria.
1905 GMT: Bahraini regime loyalists sent us this video, but it appears to have been hosted by an anti-regime Youtube account. It shows protesters running from police, who fire tear gas from vehicles as they chase the protesters down. At the end of the video, some of the protesters appear to turn around and throw molotovs at the police jeeps.
This was not the first time there has been evidence of molotovs used against police. Recently, Nick Kristof of the New York Times witnessed such an act, retaliation for police brutality on the streets of Bahrain. We've also seen videos of rocks being thrown as police try to disrupt crowds. We'd stress that these occurances are rare, and we've yet to see clear evidence of protesters attacking police without provocation.
We shared the video with a correspondent in Bahrain. Here's the response we received.
[Regarding the video] First time I've see it, but it seems to be recent. The 14Feb Coalition issued a statement 2 days ago, stating that, due to the increase of police brutality in the last weeks, people have the right to defend themselves in any possible way. They insisted that the protests must be peaceful, but in case of an attack, [if] the protesters found that it is necessary to use force to defend themselves, then they should use it.
Personally I don't agree with it [the statement], and many activists also were complaining about the statement, since it might be understood wrongly, and people might start using it as an excuse to use force on the protests...
But as I once said when the regime started targeting women, people are getting angry!
Even as our correspondent was writing this response, EA was receiving new reports from Mugsha, where police reportedly have used a large amount of tear gas in order to suppress protests:
1810 GMT: Back from a lunch break to find this video, reportedly showing homes evacuated in Sitra, Bahrain, after tear gas was fired inside by police:
That protest was reportedly attacked:
The following video shows when regime forces attack the demonstrators that blocked a street in the Madamiyah suburb of Damascus.
1653 GMT: An EA correspondent shares this video, Syrians burning Iranian currency with pictures of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on them. Regular readers of our Iran coverage will know that the Iranian currency is plummeting in value, so they'll get the joke made by another EA correspondent: "No big deal, it's not worth anything, even in Syria."
1646 GMT: Scott Lucas has a saying, "all policy is foreign policy." France may have just learned this, and Syria may pay the price. France's lower parliament has passed a law that would make the denial of the Armenian "genocide" a crime:
The law would punish denial of any genocide recognized by French law with as long as a year in prison and a 45,000-euro ($59,000) fine. The measure, presented by a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s party, has been rewritten to remove direct references to Turkey and Armenians. The French parliament voted in 2001 to recognize the World War I massacres of Armenians as genocide. In 2006, the lower house voted to criminalize its denial, though the bill later failed in the Senate.
As a result, Turkish PM Erdogan has called the bill, "politics based on racism, discrimination, xenophobia," and, according to Reuters, "Turkey's prime minister says Turkey cancels permission for French military planes to land, warships to dock in Turkey."
This will further complicate the international response to the crisis in Syria. No European country has been more interested in foreign intervention than France, and Turkey has been the Arab State that has been pushing the hardest. If this bill passes, it could prevent further cooperation between the two countries, making the international response even more difficult to organize.
1609 GMT: The US has revised its travel warning for Syria, advising that more American citizens leave the country. The move is ironically timed, as the Arab League observers have arrived in the country this morning, and suggests that the US may withdraw additional consular staff as the crisis progresses.
A group of individuals after end of a condolence of a deceased (natural death) involved in rioting & vandalism. Police interfered
Now, things begin to make sense. An activists posts this video:
Mourning for martyr Abdulali (old man killed by tear gas inhalation last weekend) in Mugsha
Another activist reports clashes in the area, including this picture of a man who was reportedly shot in the eye with a rubber bullet (graphic).
Al Wefaq requested to organize two gatherings on Friday; the first in Tubli beach and the second one in Muqsha
The request of gathering in Muqsha was approved & the another request was refused because it is near a vital road that could hinder traffic
After handing the organizers the rejection order for the first gathering they rescheduled the gathering of Al Muqsha to Saturday
1536 GMT: The Bahraini authorities have denied a permit, applied for by major opposition parties, for a protest rally tomorrow. However, according to the leading opposition party, AlWefaq, the opposition parties have dismissed the ban. We're not sure how large they will be, but it's EA's estimation that there will be protests anyway.
1513 GMT: An activist shares a series of videos, reportedly showing the situation in the Deir Bielbe district of Homs (map of Homs). The first reportedly shows snipers on the roof of the Faculty of Petrochemistry at the university in Homs:
The next video reportedly shows, "a man lying on the ground and nobody can help him because of shooting by Assad forces."
Smoke rising and gunfire:
This video gives a clear sense of the amount of damage done below (while gunfire rings out in the background). Not that beyond the heavy damage there are many smaller holes, either created by bullets or by fragmentation shells designed to kill and wound the largest amount of people possible:
Meanwhile, the LCCS posts this latest report:
Aleppo University: The security forces are arresting people randomly at the university housing. Tear gas was used to disperse a student demonstration, leading to several injuries
1453 GMT: A reliable activist shares this video over Twitter. Reportedly, these are some of the martyrs killed in Jabel al Zawiya, during the clashes between defectors and the Syrian army. This video was reportedly taken on Tuesday:
1426 GMT: Idlib is not the only location where defected soldiers appear to be fighting with the Syrian army. The Hama Champions Brigade, associated with the Free Syrian Army, is reporting that they had some members attacked by "shabiha" in recent days, and responded by committing a series of attacks. In the village of Kornaz, northwest of Hama, the Hama Champions Brigade reportedly ambushed a military convoy. The defectors focused their attack on unarmored buses that serve as troop transports, reportedly killing many.
Several other attacks were also described in the latest report, especially against roadside convoys or military emplacements, but one really stands out. EA correspondents have seen videos and have heard countless reports of the military occupying a central medical complex, placing snipers, and reportedly sometimes mortar or RPG teams, on the roof. That position has apparently been attacking the city, particularly the Hamidiya neighborhood. When the Hama Champions Brigade used an explosive device against a patrol, snipers on the rooftop of the medical complex began to fire randomly at houses in the city below.
We're not currently capable of confirming these reports.
Aleppo University: The security forces stormed the Informatics Engineering Faculty after a students' sit-in called to release of the detainees. Some students were injured due to the security forces assaulting. The neighboring Faculties were closed be the security.
The Faculty of Electrical Engineering has also reportedly been raided.
However, this is far from the only university reporting such activity. Students at the University of Damascus have reportedly been on strike, refusing to take the tests that would lead to their graduation. During a sit-in protest, held earlier today at the School of Architecture, security forces reportedly raided the building, arresting many students.
So, Assad's largest two stalwart cities are seeing large and regular protests on the campuses of Syria's flagship universities. How important have students been to the protest movement? Very:
Since the beginning of the Syrian peaceful uprising, the students played vital roles; the local Coordination Committees in Syrian have recorded names of 48 martyrs of the students among them 6 children killed by security forces direct shooting toward students’ demonstrations. The security forces always met the students’ demonstrations in schools and universities with violently. In Addition to abusing students by the regime’s armed thugs. So far more than 685 male student and 28 female students have been detained among them 61 kid(s).
The photoshopped images showed protesters holding posters of blue and pink bras. In the original photographs, the demonstrators' posters had the slogan “Down with Military Rule”.
A mass rally in Taiz in sympathy with the march:
1300 GMT: Two clips of protest today by students at the Faculty of Science of Aleppo University in Syria:
1245 GMT: Egyptian Prime Minister Kamal El Ganzouri has called for national dialogue to resolve the country's political crisis, telling a news conference that the ruling military is eager to relinquish powerL "They want to leave today not tomorrow."
El Ganzouri asserted, "I say to everyone that we must forget the past and move forward in a dialogue with all shades so that Egypt can live in peace. This is a salvation government that came to save the revolution."
An Advisory Council to the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces announced last night that it has agreed on a set of measures to end the current crisis, based on principles that include the immediate halt to the use of violence against protesters and the acknowledgement of the right to peacefully demonstrate and strike as long as the gathering does not cause a security crisis or harm public interest.
Mohamed El-Khouly, the official spokesperson of the council, added that only five out of 35 members of the council had handed in their resignations to protest the violent break-up of the Cabinet sit-in by the mlitary. He said that some of these resignations have been withdrawn.
Reports had indicated that nine of the council quit over the crackdown that has killed 20 people and injured hundreds.
1055 GMT: The Local Coordination Committees claim six people have been killed in "violent shelling using mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and heavy machine guns" of the Bab Amro section of Homs this morning (see video at top of LiveBlog).
1040 GMT: A demonstration by students in Idlib in northwest Syria this morning:
And Santa Claus joins a protest in the Damascus suburb of Douma:
Abdel Jalil called on “revolutionaries” to present a list of potential candidates: “We will choose seven, eight or nine to become members of the national council." He urged the insurgents, who have evolved into brigades organised primarily along regional lines, to “choose wisely”, as the job often requires “more than 12 hours” per day.
The NTC has been criticised for its “lack of representativeness” and “transparency”, notably in protests in Libya's second city of Benghazi.
Abdel Jalil also called on the insurgents to offer a list of candidates for the position of commander-in-chief of the national army.
0755 GMT: Another wayward headline on Bahrain, this time from Canada's National Post. There is much to credit in the interview with Nabeel Rajab, the head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, but ""A Bahraini Activist Struggles to Keep Protests Alive" misses the mark, both in reducing the opposition movement to Rajab and in its claim of near-death status for that opposition.
0750 GMT: An EA source from Bahrain reports, "This morning youth, using burning tyres, started blocking some of the main roads in Bahrain, causing traffic jams."
Claimed footage of a blockade being constructed and set on fire in Bori:
0715 GMT: Bahraini opposition societies have called for rallies tomorrow, ""We Will Never Leave the Arena":
0710 GMT: A series of explosions have hit the Iraqi capital Baghdad, killing at least seven people and wounding at least 30. Bombs went off in the central Alawi area, the commercial Karrada district, and the Shula and Shaab districts.
The truth beyond the simplistic narrative is that the protesters never disappeared --- we have been documenting for months how they been marching in villages and trying to take their demonstrations farther, including into the capital Manama. However, what has occurred in this past month is the momentum of attention, brought in part by the protesters' persistence and in part by the heavy-handed response of the security forces, from high-profile detentions to the everyday use of tear gas.
In a separate feature, Josh Shahryar sets out last night's episode, with marches from Sitra --- again fired upon by police --- to Jidhafs.
Meanwhile, there is an eerie uncertainty in Syria, with some media putting the bandage, "Arab League Monitors Set to Arrive", on the wound of this week's deaths. How many deaths is still far from clear --- figures such as "250 people in 48 hours" are clasped as uncertain certainties --- but it can be said that there has been a sustained regime effort to crush resistance in the northwest, irrespective of the cost to civilians, and battles with insurgents both there and in the south.
A protest in Kafr Oueid in Idlib Province on 11 December opens the window on the story --- how many of these people are now dead?:
And, at the same time, the series of videos we posted last night in the LiveBlog offers the reminder --- even here, amidst the bloodshed, protest is resurgent. A demonstration last night in Bab Amro in Homs: