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Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: The Sights and Sounds of Protest

See also Syria Video Special: Another Defiant Night of Ramadan Protests
Tuesday's Syria, Egypt (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Hello to Ramadan, Hello to Turmoil

2018 GMT: An unconfirmed, but very serious report, from Daraa, Syria:

Daraa:Nwa:Martyrdom of Yazan Reyad Jahmany&several wounded by the security ammunition, many ppl r still trapped in the mosque

2013 GMT: We're gathering videos of tonight's protests in Syria, but we're also hearing reports of violent crackdowns in Homs, the area around the Al-Rahman Mosque in Al-Tabait, Lattakia, and this report from Midan, an important neighborhood in the center of Damascus where some activists are reporting casualties:

#Midan ive seen about 15 ambulances storm past me already, i think they are using them to detain ppl.

1933 GMT: The UN Security Council has reached an agreement to condemn the violence in Syria, and is finalizing the language, which will released later today:

The 15 members of the council are now seeking final approval of the wording from their respective governments - when that comes, they will formally adopt the statement later on Wednesday, correspondents say.

1854 GMT: The US is placing even more political pressure on Syria today. The State Department announced today that more of its embassy staff will be evacuated today. White House spokesman Jay Carney openly condemned Assad:

""Syria would be a better place without President Assad...We view him as the cause of instability in Syria."

Members of the Senate are calling for even tougher sanctions against the regime, and the Treasury Department is working on a new package of sanctions at the moment.

1847 GMT: The Local Coordinating Committees of Syria are also reporting a widespread security crackdown in the Damascus suburb of Zabadani (confirming video posted below):

Damascus Suburbs: Zabadani: Sweeping and arresting camapign is still in effect in town. The security forces close out districts completely and successively and then they storm people's houses to arrest them. Also, security arrested people who were riding a bus coming from Damascus. They also forced the riders of other buses to walk back to zabadani.

1840 GMT: Another large protest in another important area around Damascus, Dariya:

1836 GMT: Back from a break to find reports of increased security presence in and around Damascus and its suburbs. Earlier, we reported huge protests in Douma. Now, this video reportedly shows a convoy of military an unmarked vehicles deploying in Zabadani, another important suburbs. It is worth noting that these white vans, often filled with plain-clothed men armed with guns and batons, have been seen in other crackdowns.

1607 GMT: On Monday, EA Worldview may have been the first major news source to break a very important video that claimed to show pro-Assad "thugs" throwing the bodies of protesters into a river in Hama. The Daily Beast and The Guardian picked up on the video. Syrian State TV then released what appeared to be a doctored version of the video, claiming that it showed protesters throwing the bodies of soldiers into the river.

See the entire description, translation, and analysis in our entry, Syria Video Essay: 1st Day of Ramadan was a Day of Chaos

Now, the Hama coordinating committee muddies the water even further, by claims that this video may have been taken in Jisr al Shughour:

1) The Assi river has been dry for a month and a half now because the dams at Rastan have not been opened to allow water to flow.

2) There is no such bridge in Hama.

3) There is no background noise whatsoever in the video Not even a splash. Nothing.

4) the way this video was distributed by unknown sources and the timing, suggests that it was released by the regime to justify an attack on Hama. This video was most likely taken in Jisr el Shughur, and shows pro-regime militia disposing on civilian bodies.

They go on to say that after four months, the regime can come up with no valid accusations against Hama, so they have resorted to making some up

1600 GMT: All morning, we've seen video of a funeral for a protester named Ahmad Sabri, killed in Jaleh today. Now we have video of his recently killed body (graphic) and the sounds of gunfire are very nearby.

1558 GMT: Funeral for protester in Kanaker, southwest of Damascus (MAP):

1552 GMT: An editor at Syrialeaks posts this unconfirmed report from Hama, Syria. We cannot verify the validity of the account, but it does match the descriptions being supplied by many activists:

"There was intermittent shelling into the early hours of the morning. At 5 a.m all communication, including mobile phones, internet and land lines were cut. the blackout covered an area up to 40 k.m outside the city. At 6 a.m the power supply to the city was shut off. Heavy shelling and machine gunfire erupted at 5:30 am, targeting mosque minarets and heaviest in the areas of Hamedieh and Qusour. Other areas shelled in the city include Karameh, Tawouneih and Sabounieh. Helicopters were flying over the city, as gunmen and snipers took up positions on the roofs of government buildings. A large explosion shook the area of Tawaferah. Tanks took up positions in the center of the city at Assi square.

"Bread and food is in short supply in the city, as people in their thousands fled. Those fleeing also came under fire and several were killed. Water supply was cut at 2 p.m, and a thick cloud of smoke covers the city as houses and buildings burn out of control."

1547 GMT: Activists in Douma report that there are over 50,000 protesters. Here is an overhead of the scene:

1544 GMT: Protests at a funeral for a martyr in Douma, a key Damascus suburb:

1534 GMT: Protests today in Jableh, on the coast of Syria:

1421 GMT: The LA Times has managed to reach one of their contacts in Hama via satellite phone (most other communications seem to be blocked at the moment), who reports on the situation there:

"At least three martyrs in Hamadiya district. Tanks surround us. Troops cutting access to food.

"Arbitrary gunfire. Access to hospitals limited. Heavy artillery. Tanks separate neighborhoods."

"The regime is speeding its own end. It's a stupid regime. We feel more empowered. "

1414 GMT: According to Reuters, the Libyan opposition fighters are reporting that they have repelled a Gaddafi counter-attack on their positions in Zliten this morning.

Yesterday, 7 freedom fighters were killed in an attack on their positions.

1342 GMT: We have reports that the town of Jableh (on the coast) is on general strike today, and the entire place is a ghost town. Now this video surfaces, the abandoned market.

1358 GMT: In another major blow to Bashar al Assad's international credibility, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Arinc Bulent condemned the Syrian action against Hama as an "atrocity."

I'm saying this on my behalf, what's going on in Hama today is an atrocity ... Whoever carries this out can't be our friend. They are making a big mistake ... We insisted on democratic and peaceful solutions and starting reforms. We told them they would collapse otherwise ... Recent events show no lessons were learned from these suggestions.

Turkey's President Abdullah Gul also condemned the attacks.

Turkey is often the mediating voice between the West and the East, especially between regimes that don't have good relations with the West (Iran, Syria, ect.), and Turkey has established ties to Syria. This is yet another sign that there is no going back to the old Syria.

1330 GMT: While Hama, Homs, and Deir Ez Zor may be in military lockdown, the people of Douma, a Damascus suburb, defiantly protests at a funeral for a recent martyr:

1325 GMT: An activist reports an alarming but unconfirmed piece of information, that the Syrian military has deployed jets over Deir Ez Zor, and shelling continues there. We have not heard those reports, but we do know that CNN has interviewed this source in the past.

1320 GMT: The streets of Hama are filled with gunfire, explosions, and smoke:

1317 GMT: Video from the center of Hama, where tanks are clearly targeting civilians on the streets.

1313 GMT: Activists, for the last 2 days, have been reporting intense security in Homs. Now, that security is reportedly even more intense:

Homs:4 buses loaded by security members with their full weapons entered to Khaldieh neighborhood accompanied by 4 jeeps,2b added to 3 buses already present at Omar mosque

1257 GMT: The Guardian gets us caught up on news from Syria. Hama appears to remain the focal point of conflict, and the reports of tanks shelling the city and occupying neighborhoods are still coming in from activists:

"All communications have been cut off. The regime is using the media focus on the Hosni Mubarak trial to finish off Hama," one of the residents told Reuters, adding that shelling concentrated on al-Hader district, large parts of which were was razed during the 1982 military assault on Hama that killed thousands. The square has been the venue of some of the largest demonstrations against Bashar al-Assad's rule during the five month uprising.

Tanks shelling Hama today (UPDATED, we've now posted the longer version of this video):

The Guardian has also posted this video update, tanks shelling Hama, men firing weapons at civilians, and the UN Security Council announcing that they have not reached a final decision on Syria yet.

1250 GMT: James Miller, reporting for duty. Scott has been tied up for the last 3 hours, so Al Jazeera gets us caught up on the latest news from Egypt, where the trial for former President Hosni Mubarak has begun, and clashes between police and protesters have also occurred.

0915 GMT: The Mubarak trial is on a break, but the big news at the moment is outside the Police Academcy. "All hell broke loose," says an Al Jazeera English correspondent as stone-throwing clashes between supporters and opponents of former President Hosni Mubarak turned into scuffles with the riot police. The latest trouble, which apparently started when a policeman was hit by a stone, spread into streets around the Academy.

Images from Al Jazeera English appear to show police now making arrests.

0850 GMT: More procedural manoeuvring --- the headline is that lawyers for both the Mubaraks and former Minister of Interior Habib El Adly have asked for the cases to be separated from each other.

El Adly was initially tried individually on the charge of ordering the shooting of protesters, but last week a judge ordered that he stand trial alongside Mubarak today.

The lawyer for El Adly, making his request, claimed that the Minister of Interior had never issued the shoot-to-kill order.

0825 GMT: Almost a half-hour of procedural confusion and wrangling after the defendants announce their presence in the court, as the judge tries to establish which of the many defence lawyers is representing which defendant.

Lawyers for the defendants are complaining they have not been given information; lawyers for the families of victims are demanding that they be allowed into the proceedings.

0800 GMT: Former President Hosni Mubarak has been brought on a stretcher into the defendants' cage in the courtroom in Cairo; his sons Alaa and Gamal are in white shirts. The judge is now addressing the audience, declaring that a person disrupting the proceeding has been taken away for 24-hour incarceration.

0700 GMT: Clashes have been reported outside the Mubarak trial between supporters of the former President and supporters of the uprising against him, with stones and bottles being thrown. White-clad police moved in to separate the groups, while some black-clad riot police have now been posted:

A photo of the pro-uprising protesters:

0530 GMT: Attention in Egypt today will be on the Cairo trial of former President Hosni Mubarak on charges of corruption and of responsibility for the killing of protesters during the uprising in January and February against his rule.

Mubarak's two sons, Alaa and Gamal, are also in the dock as is his former Minister of Interior, Habib El Adly.

Pro-Mubarak demonstrators outside the trial venue:

See also Syria Video Special: Another Defiant Night of Ramadan Protests
Tuesday's Syria, Egypt (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Hello to Ramadan, Hello to Turmoil

0525 GMT: Even though Egypt's military rulers have broken up the protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo, a parallel sit-in demonstration continues in the country's second city, Alexandria:

0520 GMT: We are now settling in for a pattern of tension, punctuated by conflict, during the days and of nightly demonstrations and clashes across Syria. James Miller, for the second day in a row, collected a wealth of videos for a visual essay, and a dedicated live-streamer again took to the air to bring sounds (last night's broadcast lasted for about 37 minutes) from Hama, the current centre of the showdown between the regime and protesters.

Another video to add to the growing collection --- late-night protest in Horan in the south:

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