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Syria Video Essay: 1st Day of Ramadan was a Day of Chaos

UPDATE 1837 GMT: A new video, posted today, of yesterday's bombardment of Hama.

SeekerSK provides this translation:

Artillery shelling of Hama on 8-1-2011 before/when people break their fast- Vid was uploaded today

UPDATE 1245 GMT: James Miller here, with two additional updates about this first, and now infamous clip.

The first is that if you compare the audio from the original to the audio of the State TV version, the State TV version is worse (the state TV version starts at about 08:22). They have added a low-level buzz, and then the audio drops out and the buzz swells. As an audio professional in a previous life, I can testify that a battery operated camera will not get an audio buzz, only a broadcast camera, and it never sounds like that. It is our assessment that the Syrian State TV is obviously, and clumsily, doctored.

The second update comes from the Guardian's Paul Owen, who links to us and provides a translation for the video:

Some of (the bodies) seemed to have had their throats slit - (are) being thrown into the Al-A'assi river by Shabiha ("ghosts" – pro-Assad militia). The dead people are described in the caption as "heroes of Hama". The people around the Shabiha can be heard encouraging them, and insulting and cursing the dead people. The Shabiha shout "God is greatest" as they throw the bodies in the river. "Don't film" is also heard.

The video was uploaded on 31 July. The Arabic caption reads: "Is there any crime worse than killing someone and then throwing the body in the river? Where are human rights? Where is world opinion? Where is Amnesty International?" There is no way to properly verify the clip. Many thanks to my colleague Mona Mahmood for translation.

UPDATE 0830 GMT: And now a twist in the tale....

This 11-minute clip from Syrian state TV starts with footage which claimed to be of gunmen in Hama shooting at military from the streets and rooftops.

It is the final minutes, however, that are of immediate interest. The clip uses the same footage, posted by James Miller below, of what has been claimed as pro-Assad "thugs" throwing the bodies of protesters into a river near Hama. On state TV, however, the footage is protesters throwing dead troops over the bridge --- the sound has the men talking about the bodies as "soldiers".

See also Monday's Live-Blog, Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: The Regime's Deadly Gamble

At the start of Monday, all eyes were on Hama, a city which had been shelled and raided by Syrian military and security forces on Sunday (see our live-blog, Sunday's Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: The Battle for the Cities and our separate video entry, Syria Video Special: The Military Assault on Hama).

New video from Sunday's massacre. This is a GRAPHIC AND DISTURBING VIDEO. The video claims to show pro-Assad "thugs" throwing the dead bodies of protesters into a river near Hama. It raises obvious questions - who is videotaping this, and why are they taking the video? If this description is accurate, it is not the first time, however, we've seen up-close video of alleged human rights violations on the part of Assad's supporters or his security forces.

As Monday went on, we received reports that Hama was under attack, but it was not until later in the day that we would see the video:

Smoke and explosions fill the air over Hama:

Once night fell, however, the entire scene changed. We had reports of protests in almost every city, in the country.

See also Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: The Regime's Deadly Gamble

And once again, Hama was under bombardment. These videos were live-streamed during the shelling. Intense videos, posted by a man who claims to be a resident of Hama. We have no way of verifying this report, but we do know that NPR's Andy Carvin believes it is genuine. Gunshots, chanting, and loud noises can be heard in the distance, and sometimes the violence is too close to call. In several points of the audio, a bullet snap can be heard, as if the bullets are passing very closely.

The narrator prays, speaks about his disdain for the Assad regime, and the Assad's disregard for human rights. The narrator is both defiant and scared, mournful and hopeful, prayerful and weak. It's a moving narrative, and regardless of one's understanding of Arabic, it is worth the listen.

In Hama, in the Bab al-Tribaal area, protesters chant "Yalla irhal ya Bashar" (Get out of here, Bashar):

But as night closed on the first day of Ramadan, the protests, and the violence, spread further than Hama.

Protesters march near the Hamdania Stadium in Aleppo, a key city:

This chaotic video shows protesters from the University of Khaldiyah pouring out of a mosque in Aleppo and clashing with security outside:

Protests in Midan, near the heart if Damascus, where a very large protest seems to be taking place as we speak.

Protests in the Ma'adhmiah area of Damascus, where the army was deployed to keep the peace.

In Homs, anti-government protesters run once gunfire is aimed in their direction:

In Hauran, outside of Daraa, casualties were reported. Heavy gunfire and possibly explosions can be heard in this video:

In Jableh, on the coast of Syria, protesters stage a sit-in:

Protests in a mosque in Lattakia, also on the coast.

After Taraweeh prayers, however, the bullets and shells ring out. Casualties are reported:

In Idlib Province, protesters chant victory chants:

Elsewhere in Idlib province, a defiant funeral for a protester killed Monday night:

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