1920 GMT: (James accidentally killed this update by Scott, so it is reposted) Video of a protest tonight in the Kafar Souseh section of Damascus:
And women in Keswah chant, "Where are the detainees?"
1915 GMT: There are multiple reports of protests and clashes in Douma, Harasta, Zabadani, Qaboun, and other areas near Damascus, Syria. This is perhaps the most concerning, though unconfirmed, report:
"Security thugs attacked the about 100 protesters in #Qimaryee in #Damascus very aggressively using knifes"
1845 GMT: Along with video from today's protests (below) come reports (from multiple sources, including the LCCS) of an ongoing security crackdown in Zabadani (Zabadany), in the Damascus governate (northwest of center of city):
Damascus Suburbs: yesterday 19 July, Zabadany is still besieged suffering from several security barriers on all entrances and on branch roads leading to farms some tanks are also there. Moving barriers on roads leading to Serghaia and on other roads from and to Zabadany. The arresting campaigns continued by raiding houses, work places, at barriers and even for some people walking in streets. Some motorcycles were confiscated. Even though with the very difficult conditions people went out to streets to demonstrate yelling for freedom and to topple the regime
1836 GMT: Claimed video of today's protests in Zabadani (northwest suburb of Damascus)at a funeral procession for Shady Alloush, who died this morning after he was reportedly shot 3 days after his wedding. There is also, extremely graphic, video claiming to show his body.
Homs: heavy gunfire in Baba Amr and shooting in Khaldieh, people are switching off lights to protect themselves from snipers. Deployment and security forces are everywhere in Brazil Street and Insha’at area with armored vehicles support. 2000 security person are in Jouret Al Shiah, everyone is asked to show his personal ID when walking in or out the district
Damascus : hundreds protesting now in AL Qemariya in old Damascus, security forces is trying to disperse them by force, 8 arrested, names known so far are: Nawal Shaheen, Ruba Al Hassan , Alice Mufraj and Robin Bahyj
This news is significant for many reasons. We've already reported on intense security presence in Douma, then Harasta, suggesting that the security was mowing towards the center of Damascus. Now, we see similarities in the moves against Homs and Damascus, with the latest news coming from the center of the capital itself.
We've posted a separate entry (Syria Snapshot: A Fragile Freedom in Hama) that suggests the regime has "lost" Hama to the protesters, and we have similar reports from the Deir Ezzor region to the East. Clearly, a new strategy is unfolding to focus on Homs and Damascus, where unrest has rapidly been growing over recent weeks. Perhaps the regime has realized that it cannot possibly "lose" any more cities.
1745 GMT: Back from break...
Earlier (1344) we noted that the Douma, a suburb northeast of Damascus, was surrounded by security, houses had been entered and arrests had been made. Now, Al Jazeera is reporting that the suburb of Harasta, halfway between Douma and the center of Damascus, is also under military lockdown:
"Hundreds of Fourth Division troops have sealed off all of Harasta's dozen entrances," a resident of the large suburb, who works as an engineer and managed to leave Harasta, told the Reuters news agency by telephone.
"They are wearing combat fatigues, helmets, ammunition belts and carrying assault rifles. Water, electricity and phones have been cut."
1625 GMT: The Yemeni opposition is reporting that there has been an assassination attempt on the leader of the Al-Islah party, Mohammed Abdullah al-Yadumi. Yadumi's car was fired upon this afternoon in Sana'a.
The opposition has already accused the Yemeni government of orchestrating the assassination attempt.
1617 GMT: In Yemen, a major oil pipeline is set to be repaired after it was destroyed in March, but the oil shortages and economic woes are far from resolved. Oil shortages have led to power outages, increase in food prices, and massive drought as irrigation pumps cannot operate without fuel.
On the burgeoning black market, gasoline and diesel are now sold at nine to 15 times the official price at established filling stations for the little fuel that can still be found, making life for the country's 23 million people, 40 percent of which live on less than $2 a day, even more difficult.
Gasoline, which was 75 Yemeni rials per liter before the crisis now is sold at 550-600 rials ($2.53-$2.76) on the black market, while the price for diesel has gone up to 1,000 rials from 60.
Fuel trucks feeding fuelling stations rely on armed guards for protection.
In early June, fuel shortages sparked violent clashes at petrol stations in several provinces, killing three people and injuring 12.
"After waiting in line for several days, I reached the front of the line at the petrol station at dawn Sunday. Suddenly there was a scuffle between some armed men who wanted to cut the line and the station workers, so the gunmen started shooting," Sanaa resident Mansour Ibrahim said.
"I didn't have any choice but to leave my car and flee, I was afraid I'd be killed, like others have."
1602 GMT: Saudi Arabia will try a woman who broke the female driving ban by driving herself to the hospital. The 35-year-old woman was arrested in Jeddah, and could face jail time.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women from driving.
1555 GMT: Several Tunisian opposition groups have released a joint statement, marking both the 6 month anniversary of the fall Ben Ali, and the recent death of a 14 year old boy in Sidi Bouzid, the birthplace of the Tunisian revolution. They have reiterated 3 key demands:
1. Their rejection of the government's stance and their call upon it to review it and to engage positively with public expressions and the demands of the political elite, and their warning against pushing the country towards an orchestrated state of polarisation that replays scenarios from which the country had suffered immensely and paid dearly, They further call for the adoption of dialogue and consensus-building as the mechanism for resolving disputes in this sensitive phase of our country's history.
2. Their defense of the right to freedom of expression, protest and sit-ins, considering any violation of that right a contravention of the aims of the revolution, and their condemnation of all acts of violence and attacks on public or private property, such as the events of Menzel Bourguiba. They further express solidarity with all victims, civilian and security personnel, and call for the release of all detainees and those forced to undergo military service.
3. Their commitment to the date of October 23rd as the definitive date for the constituent assembly elections, and their appeal to all parties and political actors to assume their responsibility in protecting the gains of the revolution and enabling a peaceful democratic transition based on open and transparent electoral legitimacy.
1547 GMT: Leading opposition figures in Tunisia have called for national unity, as well as vigilance to ensure that the current transitional government respects the will of the people:
"The Tunisian people overthrew the largest dictatorial regime in the world, but what is more difficult is the ability of the people to build a democratic system," said Radwan Masmoudi, president of the Centre for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID). "Tunisians must be aware of this and the sacred national duty so as not to fall under the weight of another authoritarian regime."
"In recent weeks, there has been a dangerous increase in the manifestations of security disturbance and misconduct in the enjoyment of freedom, and being lost in ourselves is almost assured. Indicators of economic development saw a serious setback stemming from major imbalances," read a statement from the independents.
1527 GMT: While Gaddafi's forces have sophisticated weapons, most of the arms that the Libyan rebels are using can't compete:
"I think most of these weapons are ones that have been liberated from the Gaddafi forces .... Some of [the guns] date back to the Second World War."
1505 GMT: A Yemeni opposition spokesman has announced the formation of the "National Council for the Forces of the Revolution," the second transitional council in Yemen:
Mohammed al-Sabri said the alliance includes opposition parties, defected military units, media and some of the youth protesters who have camped out in Yemen's public squares to demand that Mr. Saleh cede power.
Youth groups and activists just days ago formed their own 17-member "transitional council" in a similar bid to force out Mr. Saleh.
The creation of two interim councils could further splinter Yemen's opposition in the fractious Arab Gulf country where Mr. Saleh - who survived a bomb attack in June - is clinging to 33 years in power. The Yemeni leader has refused to step down despite being severely wounded in last month's blast at his presidential compound. He has been receiving treatment in a Saudi hospital since the attack.
1456 GMT: The Libyan rebels have launched a new offensive, attacking from Misurata towards the city of Zliten. The reports are that the rebels are making gains:
"We are now one and a half kilometres from Zlitan," said a rebel fighter, Mohammed Ashanobah, of the Shaheed (Martyr) Brigade. "The revolutionaries attacked at eight this morning."
In eastern Libya, rebels continue to try to capture Brega, a key government-held town that is home to an oil refinery. They said they were being hampered in their efforts by extensive minefields.
Nato said it destroyed six government artillery pieces around Misrata on Monday and planes hit a further 12 targets on Tuesday, marking a sharp escalation in alliance air strikes around the besieged city.
Hikma hospital in Misrata reported seven fighters killed and 14 wounded by midday. Tripoli issued no casualty figures. Among the wounded were two government soldiers brought to the hospital for treatment by the man who shot them.
1428 GMT: France's Foreign Minister, Alain Juppe, said today that Colonel Gaddafi could stay in Libya if he was willing to relinquish power. The French government is meeting with members of the National Transitional Council, the US delegates are meeting with Colonel Gaddafi's people, and a UN envoy has been assigned to coordinate formal negotiations with Gaddafi as well.
Since Gaddafi is now wanted by the International Criminal Court, and he has said he will die in Libya, this move is likely to be a vital concession to Gaddafi, perhaps the only way to remove Gaddafi without the rebels capturing Tripoli.
1344 GMT: The Local Coordinating Committees of Syria (LCCS) are reporting that the city of Douma, an important suburb of Damascus, is under siege:
They say houses have been stormed and residents detained, including 15 from a building in Bwaidany. Also, communications were cut between 4am and 11am and heavy checkpoints established across Douma to prevent people leaving.
Reportedly, this video shows a protest as a response.
1336 GMT: James Miller takes over for Scott Lucas, who has done a great job documenting a horrible scene in Homs, Syria.
The violence in the city erupted as plain-clothed thugs attacked the funeral processions for the victims. The Telegraph is reporting that a mother of one of the victims was killed in the attack.
1210 GMT: Associated Press revises the death toll in the fighting around Brega in north-central Libya to more than 50 insurgents killed in six days. A doctor at the hospital in Ajdabiya treating the wounded, said 27 fighters died on Tuesday, with 83 wounded.
1205 GMT: Today's funeral of slain protester Shadi Alloush in Zabadani in Syria:
And a funeral rally in Bab Sbaa in Homs:
1200 GMT: Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem has warned the US and French ambassadors not to travel outside Damascus without permission. He said if the orders are defied, all diplomats will be prevented from leaving the capital.
On 7 and 8 July, the US and French Ambassadors, Robert Ford and Eric Chevallier, travelled to Hama, a centre of resistance to the regime, and met protesters and activists.
1155 GMT: Reports are circulating that George Sabra, a key Syrian opposition figure and member of the National Democratic Party, was arrested in Damascus today.
Sabra was also arrested on 10 April.
0815 GMT: As we post a feature by Anthony Shadid on the "fragile freedom" in Hama, where hundreds of thousands have risen against the Syrian regime, a playful video of residents with their "tank" to resist any military intervention:
0720 GMT: A women's march in Taiz in Yemen on Tuesday:
0710 GMT: In Libya, regime forces --- allegedly in trucks disguised with opposition flags --- have shelled opposition positions near the north-central oil town of Brega, killing 13 insurgents and wounding dozens more.
The opposition has been trying to seize Brega for almost a week, claiming that it has entered the eastern side of the town, but has been held up by landmines. They are now 10 kilometres (6 miles) east of the oil port, working to clear the mines. "Maybe within three or four days we will solve this problem of mines and we will be in Brega," insurgent spokesman Ahmed Bani said.
A doctor at a hospital in Ajdabiya, where the wounded fighters have been taken, said, "The numbers of casualities exceeded the numbers of beds available." Another doctor said eight insurgents were killed and dozens wounded on Tuesday, raising the total to at least 34 fighters killed in five days of fighting.
0705 GMT: Small protests continue in Bahrain. A demonstration last night in Karzakan on the western coast:
0600 GMT: We begin this morning with a video feature, in a separate entry, on yesterday's military attack on protesters in Homs, Syria's third-largest city. As at least 13 people were reportedly killed, Al Jazeera English is using the term "death squads":
Meanwhile, more refugees are fleeing across the Lebanese photo. A photo from Reuters from the Lebanese village of al-Mouqaibleh: