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Libya, Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Rotting Bodies, Beaten Protesters

Ali Ferzat, a Syrian cartoonist who was beaten by masked gunmen earlier this week. 

See Also, Statement on Syria by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Social Media Revolution (Qualman)

Friday's Liveblog: Libya, Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: The State of the Uprisings

1700 GMT: Disturbing video footage. A doctor is reportedly taking a bullet off a man's arm who was wounded during the clash in the Rifai mosque.

1655 GMT: Gaddafi's recruited African mercenaries have started leaving Libya.

1635 GMT: A video showing a protest in Duma earlier today. They chanted "there is no God but God and Assad is enemy of God" and “a traitor is the one who kills his own people." 

1625 GMT: Another video showing the situation in Rifai mosque this morning.

1615 GMT: Instead of Gaddafi's green flag, the green, red, & black flag to be hoisted in the Arab League today.

1610 GMT: UN spokesman Farhan Haq briefed the international community regarding the situation in Syria:

The constant presence of government officials limited the mission's ability to fully and independently assess the situation.

The mission concluded that although there's no countrywide humanitarian crisis, there is an urgent need to protect civilians from the excessive use of force.

1605 GMT: Chairman of the National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, called for emergency humanitarian aid for Tripoli. He said:

We are calling all the humanitarian organisations and telling them that Tripoli needs medicines, first aid products and surgical material.

Jalil also said that they might invite police forces from Muslim or Arab countries.

1555 GMT: omar al-Idlibi, spokesman for the Local Co-ordination Committees, spoke to Al Jazeera:

They are trying to reach Abasseeyen Square.  For the past three days, there has been a plan for protestors to occupy squares in Damascus. But after they attacked Rifai Mosque this morning and beat worshippers there is so much anger in the suburbs.

If security forces were not firing we expect we could bring 10,000 to central Damascus.

1545 GMT: Despite rumours that Gaddafi escaped to Algeria; Mustafa Abdel Jalil, chairman of the Transitional Council, said that they had no concrete information regarding where Gaddafi or his sons were located.

On the other hand, Algeria officially denied that a convoy of armoured cars that could be carrying top Libyan regime officials had crossed its borders.

1500 GMT: Reuters, speaking to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, is reporting that at least 3 protesters have been killed so far in Syria:

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), citing witnesses, said more demonstrations had broken out in Damascus overnight and this morning than at any time since the pro-democracy uprising erupted in March.

At the al-Rifai mosque in the upscale Damascus district of Kfar Sousa, where the main secret police headquarters are located, witnesses said hundreds of security police and militiamen loyal to Assad attacked worshippers who tried to demonstrate as al-Qadr prayers finished around dawn.

"Some of the 'amn' (security) went on the roof and began firing from their AK-47s to scare the crowd. Around 10 people were wounded, with two hit by bullets in the neck and chest," a cleric who lives in the area told Reuters by phone.

1345 GMT: 53 bodies been found in a warehouse in the Libyan capital Tripoli. Reuters reports that, according to a local resident who spoke to Sky, the victims were mostly civilians and said they had been killed by Gaddafi's forces.

1340 GMT: The latest videos coming from the morning clash in the Rifai mosque. The imam of the mosque is claimed to be beaten as well.

1325 GMT: Seven Yemeni soldiers were killed and six others wounded on Saturday in clashes with suspected Al-Qaeda forces in the southern province of Abyan, a military officer said.

1310 GMT: Tripoli suffers from the shortage of water, electricity and proper sanitation. The National Transitional Council (NTC) said fuel to power electricity and water supplies will arrive on Sunday.

1300 GMT: Two more are claimed to be killed today in Syria. One was reportedly killed in the Rifai mosque in Damascus and the other in Kafar Nabel, in Idlib, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. At least 12 (including the imam of the Rifah mosque) in Damascus and five in Idlib were wounded.

Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Saleh warned the "outsiders" and called on Damascus to recognise the "legitimate demands" of its people. He said:

The government should answer to the demands of its people, be it Syria, Yemen or other countries.

The people of these nations have legitimate demands and the governments should reply to these demands as soon as possible.

Syria is an important link in the resistance chain [against Israel] and some want to cut off this link in the chain. A vacuum in the Syrian regime would have an unpredictable impact for the region and its neighbours.

1245 GMT: Al Jazeera's Evan Hill reporting from Tripoli sent these pictures:

1230 GMT:  Jibril, Deputy Cheif of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) is due to meet with the head of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, and Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr in Egypt today. 

Meanwhile, Mahmoud Shammam, the NTC information minister, said at a press conference in Tripoli:

Tripoli was under control of dictatorship for 42 years, we are lacking a lot of institutions.

The TV station and other media will be held under the executive committee. We are in the process of forming a supervising council.

Tripoli is much safer than Baghdad. We are dealing with all military issues.  Soon you will hear good news about Tripoli being clear and stable. We have managed to do what many others failed to do.

We will continue looking for Gaddafi while we stabilise our country.

1225 GMT: One is reportedly killed and 20 injured in the Rifai mosque in Kafarsouseh, in Damascus. Another neighbouring mosque is also reportedly stormed and many arrested by security forces. Al Jazeera's Nisreen el-Shamayleh is reporting:

1210 GMT: Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah giving his full support to Bashar Assad:

There are some who want to push Syria towards partition in order to serve the new Middle East project which we destroyed in Lebanon and in Gaza [in December 2008] and in the 2006 July war.

We must stand with Syria so that it will not make concessions and to be able to carry out reforms in peace and confidence. No one can accept reforms under pressure. We know that the Syrian leadership is serious about reforms.

1200 GMT: This video is showing army trucks in Zabadani, west of Damascus. Troops chant "with soul and blood we sacrifice for you Bashar".

1145 GMT: The Local Co-ordination Committees said that 10 people were killed in protests and two died due to injuries and torture on Friday.

1140 GMT: There are reports coming that fighting in the oil port of Ras Lanuf is continuing as Gaddafi's snipers are still based in the town which is making the opposition fighters' ability to move towards Sirte difficult. 

Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reporting from the Ras Lanuf said: "It is a hard fought battle in Ras Lanuf, but it is not over yet."

1135 GMT: NATO said that it had destroyed 11 vehicles mounted with weapons, three logistic military vehicles and one armoured fighting vehicle in Sirte. 

1130 GMT: These videos are showing the Rifai mosque in Kafarsouseh, before and after the clash between security forces and demonstrators. 

1125 GMT: In the town of Zabadani, outside Damascus, people demonstrated in solidarity with Kafarsouseh:

1120 GMT: This is Gaddafi's luxurious compound in Tripoli.

1115 GMT: This video is showing the besieged mosque in Kafarsouseh, in Damascus where protestors shouted pro-opposition slogans after the morning prayer. 

An eyewitness spoke to Al Jazeera, saying:

"Security forces and shabiha thugs arrived at the mosque, first using sound bombs and teargas to stop the protest. Protesters threw teargas canisters back at them and also used some rocks. Security forces responded with live ammunition, and 8 protesters were injured. One man was severely wounded after being shot in the chest.

1113 GMT: Al Jazeera reporters are banned from entering Syria.

1110 GMT: At least 107 political prisoners held in the Abu Salim prison have returned home to the eastern city of Benghazi. 

Al Jazeera English reports on fighting in the oil port of Ras Lanuf in north-central Libya, with claims of Qaddafi snipers based in the town. The conflict is preventing insurgents from moving west toward Sirte, Qaddafi's hometown and stronghold.

Insurgents says they are negotiating with Qaddafi forces for an end to the battle, but are moving heavy weapons and troops forward.

1100 GMT: At least three protesters have reportedly been killed today as tens of thousands of people challenging the Assad regime have returned to the streets.

1045 GMT: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, citing witnesses, said more demonstrations had broken out in Damascus overnight and on Saturday morning than at any time since the beginning of the uprising on 15 March.

Two people were allegedly killed when security forces fired live ammunition to disperse demonstrators streaming from mosques in the cities of al-Qusayr and Latakia after prayers on al-Qadr, the night Muslims believe the Prophet received the Quran.

At the al-Rifai mosque in the upscale Kfar Sousa district of Damascus, where the main secret police headquarters are located, witnesses said hundreds of security police and militiamen attacked worshipers as prayers finished around dawn. A cleric claimed, "Around ten people were wounded, with two hit by bullets in the neck and chest."

1030 GMT: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed Syrian forces fired at a funeral procession on Saturday in the town of Kfar Roumeh in northwestern Idlib Province, injuring at least ten. The Observatory said another man was killed in raids and house-to-house arrests in the nearby town of Kfar Nubul.

During a protest overnight in the Damascus suburb of Hajar al-Aswad, demonstrators chanted: "The people want the execution of the President."

Similar demonstrations were reported in other Damascus suburbs, such as Douma and Qadam. Protests were also seen in Homs, Palmyra, Hama, and the eastern province of Hasakeh. Video showed marchers in Idlib shouting "Death but not humiliation" as they carried the green-and-white flag of the Syrian republic before the Ba'ath Party took power in 1963.

1015 GMT: Activists said at least 11 people were slain on Friday by security forces.

1000 GMT: Al Jazeera English chooses the insurgent takeover of a border crossing with Tunisia as its Libyan headline, noting that the opposition's defeat of Qaddafi forces could open much-needed supply routes into the country.

Insurgents raised their independence flag late on Friday on the Ras Ajdir border post, the primary crossing between Libya and Tunisia. A Tunisian official said Qaddafi loyalists fled as more than 100 rebels arrived: "There were not any real clashes."

0930 GMT: Scott Lucas is away, so updates will be limited for a few hours while James Miller and Ali Yenidunya get a much-needed few hours of sleep. Thanks for the patience, and as always, leave updates in the comments section.

So, a few quick notes. In Libya, news is generally developing based on two story lines. The first is the tale of  the opposition fighters who are working to secure Tripoli, and those in the east of Libya who  will either attack Qaddafi's home town of Sirte or convince the Qaddafi loyalists to negotiate there.

The second developing story is one of horror, as more than 200 rotting bodies have been discovered in the Abu Salim hospital, in one of the last embattled neighbourhoods of Tripoli. Much of the staff fled, and casualties from both sides were moved into the hospital. The morgue is full, many of the staff have been afraid to go outside, and so bodies are just piling up wherever they can be placed.

These horrors, however, may not amount to human rights violations; they are the price of war. On other fronts, however, evidence is mounting that Qaddafi loyalists may have slaughtered as many as 150 prisoners of war, and there have also been allegations that the opposition fighters are also guilty of abuses. As the situation in Tripoli develops, answers, and justice, will be sought in the next few days.

Meanwhile, we turn to Syria. It has been an amazing Ramadan, with large scale protests, and heavy death tolls, every single night since the first day. Assad has proven that he will not back down, but the opposition has proven that they cannot be shelled away. So what happens next? And now that Ramadan is drawing to a close, will the opposition continue to flex its muscles every single day, and every single night, of every single week?

We'll be back in a few hours, so stay tuned...

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