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Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: 24/7 Conflict

View Syria - Sunday 07/08/2011 in a larger map

A map of yesterday's protests in Syria, with links to videos

2116 GMT: We close the live-blog with this video, night protests in Deir Ez Zor, where tanks have occupied the city since sunday. We'll collect any developments and deliver them tomorrow morning. Thanks for tuning in:

2043 GMT: Night protests in another important neighborhood of Damascus, Ileum:

2034 GMT: Night protests in al-Rastan:


Al Kisweh, Damascus:

Harasta, Damascus:

2018 GMT: An angry crowd marches after Taraweeh prayers in Daria, Damascus, site where security opened fire and killed 5 protesters earlier today:

2007 GMT: The title says it all- The government says there are no tanks in Deir Ez Zor, but here they are:

Claimed protests in Black Stone City, on the outskirts of Damascus:

Protests in Khalidiya, Homs:

1922 GMT: Night protests have begun. This video shows protesters in Dariya, Damascus:

1909 GMT: This video, uploaded yesterday, claims to show the aftermath of the Syrian military shelling of Deir Ez Zor:

1833 GMT: In this video, claiming to be Daraa today, at least 2 men are seriously injured. Activists are still claiming that 5 people have been killed by security forces:

1814 GMT: SANA is claiming that the military has begun withdrawing tanks from Hama. This has not been confirmed or reported by any non-=Syrian government source, but it is A) possible that the withdraw has occurred but because of an almost total communication blackout we haven't heard about it or B) the Syrian government is lying, as it is denying that there are tanks deployed in Deir Ez Zor, despite clear evidence to the contrary.

Also, more footage from Daraa has been posted, though it doesn't add any details to what we already have reported here.

1756 GMT: Two new videos (Graphic Videos!) claiming to show protesters shot today in Daraa, where between 3 and 5 people were killed so far after security fired on a funeral (see updates below):

1747 GMT: Breaking news from Al Jazeera live - The executive committee of the National Transitional Council in Libya has been dissolved. More information when we get it...

1722 GMT: In Bahrain, the government is building a police station inside the Salmaniya hospital complex, which will be finished in December. The government is saying that this will help the police follow up on victims' reports, but this news also needs to be read in light of Arab Spring. Since protests began in Bahrain, the government has prosecuted doctors and medical staff who have helped protesters, and the military conducted a siege of Salmaniya hospital during the hight of unrests in March.

1706 GMT: While we keep our eyes on Daraa, the Local Coordinating Committees of Syria (LCCS) are reporting intensifying military maneuvers in Idlib province, north of Aleppo:

Idlib: About 10 tanks arrived from Aleppo road and are now in agricultural areas, unknown number of tanks arrived from road from Mastoumeh and Ariha to besiege the city of Idlib

Also, the LCCS is reporting that about 20 tanks have deployed in northwestern Saraqeb, Idlib Province, east of Jisr al Sughour (MAP) and tanks were also deploying Sermi.

1658 GMT: Soldiers deploy near the funeral for Mohamad Krad, before shooting breaks out (see last video). We now have reports of 5 civilians killed in the graveyard in Daraa.

1652 GMT: There are new, unconfirmed, reports of casualties in Daraa today. This video claims to have been taken near the Amri mosque in Daraa today:

1639 GMT: The latest update from Al Jazeera on the situation in Bir al Ghanam:

1605 GMT: Claimed video from the funeral for Tamer Yaseen in Homs, today:

More footage from a funeral in Daraa, an important area in Damascus, Syria:

1536 GMT: Al Jazeera's Rula Amin is reporting that the Syrian defense minister, General Ali Habib, was dismissed, and Daoud Rajha will replace him. Syrian State Run SANA News is saying that Habib was dismissed because he fell sick.

1531 GMT: NPR is reporting that Malik and Mabruk Eshnuk, two Libyan freedom fighters who left Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (USA) to fight against Colonel Gaddafi, have been killed today.

1519 GMT: Protests last night after prayers in Darya, Damascus:

1504 GMT: Public Relations alert - The Guardian is reporting that AP reporters were given a tour of the government-operated Hama National Hospital last night:

"There are gunshot wounds mostly on their necks, also on the chest. We now have 17 bodies in the hospital," al-Omar told reporters as, in AP's words, "an unidentified member of the security services stood closely behind him".

The Syrian government has said it is responding to armed gangs and terrorists in attacking Hama. This does not tally with descriptions from residents or activists of what has happened there.

1455 GMT: New video, reportedly taken yesterday, shows a huge tank presence in a single neighborhood in Homs:

1438 GMT: New video of protests early this morning in Ma'arrat an-Nu'man, before the military arrived:

1426 GMT: This video claims to show the family of Mohammed Manhal Krad Kurds protesting today in Daraa. A video of his body, which shows signs of torture, has also surfaced. It is unclear to us when this man was killed or under what circumstances, beyond that his family is claiming death at the hands of the regime.

1417 GMT: James Miller takes the blog, after Scott Lucas has done a great job setting the scene.

First though: Hama is a city of approximately 700,000 people, Deir Ez Zor has another 511,000, and Ma'arrat an-Nu-man has 90,000 residents. All three cities are under military siege, characterized by the cutting of utilities, mass arrests, tank bombardment, and lack of food, medial, and water supplies. That's over 1.3 million people. It's time for the world to pay attention here.

1350 GMT: Following Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Bahrain has withdrawn its ambassador from Syria.

This now appears to be a co-ordinated move of the nations of the Gulf Co-operation Council. Was the US, whose Ambassador had publicly stood against the Assad regime with his visit to Hama last month, involved in the discussions?

1155 GMT: The Gulf state of Kuwait has recalled its ambassador from Syria for "consultations", following Sunday's similar step by Saudi Arabia.

Announcing the move, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah said, "No one can accept the bloodshed in Syria.The military option must be halted."

Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, citing residents, claims Syrian security forces have shot dead a mother and her two children fleeing the army assault on the northeastern city of Deir Ez Zor.

An activist said, "The army opened up with heavy machine guns on al-Joura district. Security forces then launched a search sweep, terrorising residents."

0930 GMT: Footage has been posted of the moment when gunfire by security forces in Idlib in Syria took the life of a man identified as Hassan Suleiman.

0840 GMT: A useful map of the current situation in the western mountains of Libya has been posted.

0740 GMT: Claimed footage of the Syrian army entering the town of Maarat an-Nu'man at 6 a.m. local time (see 0555 GMT).

0735 GMT: We have refrained from noting the story, appearing on CNN, that eight premature babies died in their incubators when Syrian forces cut off electricity to hospitals during last week's assault on the city of Hama.

Ali Abunimah's examination of the claim offers an explanation for our caution.

0610 GMT: A series of denials and explanations from the Syrian news agency SANA....

An "official military source" has said claims of shelling the city of Deir Ez Zor by tanks are "completely false and untrue", as "no tanks have entered the city". The source said "some army units were commissioned to remove roadblocks set up by armed terrorist groups at the city's entrances", responding to an appeal by local tribes.

SANA also claims that an "armed terrorist group" killed three troops and wounded three in Rastan in the south, that the mutilated bodies of 17 security personnel have been found in the Orontes River near Hama (see separate entry on the propaganda battle over a video of the dumping of bodies).

And SANA asserts that "armed groups" set up roadblocks and "threatened citizens" near Houleh, where activists reported that 21 people were slain by security forces on Sunday.

0555 GMT: Claimed video of Deir Ez Zor in Syria's northeast this morning, with sounds of gunfire over the occupied city:

0550 GMT: Another military occupation in Syria this morning? The opposition Local Co-ordination Committees say troops with heavy weapons and tanks have moved into the town of Maarat an-Nu'man in the northwest, preventing residents from entering or leaving.

Only last night we posted video of a mass anti-regime rally in the town.


0540 GMT: The other significant development on Syria last night was the public intervention of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in a televised speech:

The repercussions of events in sister Syria resulted in the loss of large numbers of martyrs, whose blood was shed, and other numbers of wounded and injured. Everyone knows that every sane Muslim and Arab or others are aware that this is not of religion, values, or ethics. Shedding the blood of innocent people for whatever reasons or justifications will not find a reassuring opening that can enable Arabs, Muslims, and the whole world to see a glimmer of hope except through activation of wisdom by the Syrian leadership and carrying out of its historic role in a crossroads that only Allah knows where it leads to.

What is happening in Syria is unacceptable to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The event is greater than can be justified by reasons, but rather the Syrian leadership can activate quick and comprehensive reforms. The future of Syria is between only two options: either it chooses wisdom willingly, or drifts into the depths of chaos and loss, may Allah forbid....

Today, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands before its historical responsibility towards her brothers, demanding the stoppage of the killing machine and bloodshed, use of reason before it is too late, introduction and activation of reforms that are not entwined with promises, but actually achieved so that our brothers the citizens in Syria can feel them in their lives as dignity, glory and pride. In this regard, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announces the recall of its ambassador for consultation on current events there.

Sharp observers immediately noted that the Saudi position on dissent in Syria is far different from that taken in Bahrain, where it intervened with military forces to support a fellow monarchy, or Yemen. And, indeed, Abdullah's call for "comprehensive reforms" can be juxtaposed with Saudi Arabia's approach to its own people.

Those observers also considered beyond Saudi concern for the Syrian people: a manoeuvre to eclipse Tehran, which has been supportive of the Assad regime, an attempt to deflect attention from its domestic situation and to heed public anger over the events in Syria, a possible co-ordination with the US to put pressure on one regime (Syria) while saying little about the tensions of another (Bahrain).

For now, however, the immediate effect --- a ratcheting-up of the pressure on President Assad and his inner circle --- and eyes open for Damascus's response.

0510 GMT: Thousands marched and more than 70 died in Syria on Sunday

That in itself is not unusual in this conflict, now entering its sixth month. What is distinctive is that the anti-regime rallies and the killings are occurring now on an almost-daily basis. Last week, it was Hama's turn to be shelled and occupied by the Syrian military; yesterday it was Deir Ez Zor in the northeast.

More than 50 people died there, but there were also a number of deaths --- some reports said more than 20 --- in Houla in central Syria. And security forces also shot at funeral processions in Idlib, slaying some mourners, and in Douma outside Damascus.

More footage of overnight protests --- people in Zabadani chant, "Bashar, Leave!"

Dael in the south:

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