A large demonstration last night in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib, Syria.
Libya Feature:Black Africans Rounded Up by New Government?
1927 GMT: There have been massive protests in Maree (Aleppo), Idlib City, Homs, Daraa, Douma (Damascus), Ugarit, and other locations across Syria. We will post a video special in short order, but once again large scale protests have covered many areas of the country today.
1921 GMT: A large protest at another funeral in Maree, 35 km north of Aleppo:
1914 GMT: We've received two videos from activists in Al Hoole, Homs. This first is fairly standard, a large armored anti-aircraft machine gun, a dangerous anti-personnel weapon, positioned in a residential neighborhood. The second video, however, appears to show snipers building defenses on rooftops in the same neighborhood.
Gaddafi loyalists left 29 detainees locked inside metal containers to suffocate in the Libyan summer heat, according to Amnesty International. Nineteen of them died as a result of the ordeal.
Three survivors have told the human rights group how they were tortured by pro-Gaddafi fighters, then imprisoned along with 26 others in two cramped cargo containers on 6 June at a construction site in al-Khums, 120 km east of Tripoli:
The detainees endured temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius and drank their own sweat and urine when the limited water supply ran out. Their captors shouted "rats, shut up," ignoring their cries for help.
The incident has only just emerged because the site was was off-limits to independent reporting until it the National Transitional Council took control of the area on 21 August.
1903 GMT: A massive anti-Assad protest in Douma, an important Damascus suburb, during thefuneral of Yusef Al-Toukhi:
1823 GMT: Back from a work break (because I work when I am not working)...
According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 2 people were killed today as security forces continued a crackdown, one in the central Homs district of Al-Nazihin, and one in the village of Al-Rama in the Idlib province, where 5 others were wounded:
A girl of 10 had died of wounds received late Wednesday during shooting near police headquarters at Deir Ezzor in the east as she was travelling in a taxi with her family.
It said the security forces acted after mass demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad's regime late Wednesday in numerous districts on Homs, including Bayyada, Al-Hamra, Bab Dreib and Bab Sbaa.
1742 GMT: People protest today in Tal Re'fat, near Aleppo, Syria:
Negotiations between the National Transitional Council [NTC] and the tribes of Harawa and Sirte, reportedly include some Gaddafi loyalists.
Both groups have laid out a series of conditions:
The Magharba tribe based in the Bin Jawad area have been given the role of negotiating on behalf of the NTC.
The tribes of Sirte and Harawa want guarantees that Libya's fighters will not loot, burn public building or search houses.
The NTC wants all weapons that Gaddafi distributed to the tribes, handed over.
1516 GMT: Colonel Muammar Qaddafi has just finished an audio address. We'll see if we can get a video of it, but the message is the same: Defiance. Qaddafi again called on the tribes, and all people of Libya, to rise up and march against the National Transitional Council and the opposition fighters. He vowed to fight to the last drop of blood, blamed imperialist forces, zenga zenga, yada yada yada, ect., ect.,...
The speech was well timed. The head of the NTC, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, and world leaders are meeting today in France. As the international community councils the new Libyan government on how to best reconstruct the country, and as opposition soldiers mass and prepare for a potential attack on Sirte if fighters there do not surrender by NEXT Saturday (see update below), we'll see if the pleas from the most wanted man in the world, given on the 42 anniversary of his rule in Libya, will be answered.
1512 GMT: The video is two days old, but it is no less impressive. A large crowd in Daraa protests at the funeral of a young man, Mohammad Faroukh, killed by Syrian security forces:
1423 GMT: The Associated Press is running a story about how opposition forces have been gathering thousands of black Africans and placing them in detention centers, under suspicion that they are fighters for Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.
The NTC, for its part, maintains that it is calling for the people of Libya to resist vengeance:
In our separate entry, we ask two important questions:
Are these abuses systematically executed by Libya's new government, and when will law and order be restored to Libya?
Read our Libya Feature:Black Africans Rounded Up by New Government?
1414 GMT: James Miller takes the blog. Thanks to Ali for taking us through the last few hours.
Yemen officials are reporting that 30 suspected Al Qaeda members have been killed in US drone strike in al-Qarda, in the south.
1347 GMT: We have added a video, summary, and complete translation of the resignation of Hama's Attorney General, Adnana Bakour, is a separate feature, Syria Special: The Resignation of Hama's Attorney General
1346 GMT: In a statement, EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton announced that "the EU has lifted its asset freeze on 28 Libyan entities." It continues:
Our goal is to provide resources to the interim government and the Libyan people and help to make the economy function again. Today's decision concerns in particular Libyan ports, as well as the energy and banking sectors.
The EU has acted swiftly in the light of the developments on the ground.
As we head for the Paris conference on the new Libya, this is a clear sign of the EU's determination to do its utmost to support the people of Libya and the interim authorities during the transition. The EU will remain a strong and committed partner for the Libyan people and will continue to examine all possible measures in support of Libya.
1245 GMT: Foreign Secretary William Hague evaluates the latest development ahad of the Conference.
1210 GMT: Following the state news channel's claim that Hama's attorney-general, Adnan Bakhour, was captured; Bakhour has issued a new video saying that this claim is not true.
What Syrian TV broadcast that I had been kidnapped by armed groups is untrue.
I am now protected by the rebels and I am in good health. Today is Wednesday 31 August. Shabiha (pro-government militia) tried to kidnap me today but they failed to do so. I will make live statements as soon as I leave Syria, soon.
1200 GMT: Abdel Majid, the coordinator of the Tripoli military operations room, said that Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senoussi are believed to be in the desert town of Bani Walid, about 150km southeast of Tripoli.
1110 GMT: In an interview with Al Jazeera, Gaddafi's former foreign minister, Abdel Ati al-Obeidi who was reported captured yesterday, said that Gaddafi's supporters should now lay down their weapons.
He also said that Muammar Gaddafi has not followed members of his family to Algeria.
We have to help the National Transitional Council because the country is devastated, the humanitarian situation is difficult and there's a lack of water, electricity and fuel.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement:
The Russian Federation recognises the National Transitional Council as the current authorities and takes note of its declared reform programme, which calls for the development of a new constitution, the holding of general elections and the formation of a government.
Speaking to Syria' al-Rai televison, Saif al-Islam said:
We are going to die in our land. No one is going to surrender. We must wage a campaign of attrition day and night until these lands are cleansed from these gangs and traitors. We assure people that we are standing fast and the commander is in good condition.
In an interview with al-Arabiya television, Saadi said:
If surrendering myself will end the bloodshed, I am ready to do so, but I do not represent only myself, and in order to reach a peaceful resolution to the crisis we should sit down with each other and negotiate. The most important thing is to stop the bloodshed.
0630 GMT: On Wednesday, the Hama attorney-general, Adnan Bakhour, read his resignation due to killings and torture. On the other hand, Sana state news agency claimed that Bakhour was "kidnapped by an armed terrorist gang", which "forced him to present his resignation".
0500 GMT: James Miller has received dozens of videos of night protests in Horan province, Syria, and dozens more from areas around Idlib, as well as video of protests in Madaya (Damascus), Hama, Homs, and Khamishli (Ugarit), and those are just the videos that have come in so far. While the world seems transfixed on Libya, protests are exceeding James' expectations in Syria. Only a week ago, contacts in the opposition seemed frustrated. Now, inspired by Libya, and supported by the EU and the UN, protests seem to be swelling, not shrinking.
There have also been some major victories. Activists, and journalists, have noted an increase in defections, particularly among army units stationed in the hard-hit Deir Ez Zor. Yesterday, we posted dramatic video that seemed to show soldiers chanting along with protesters, and against Assad, in Daraa. These developments are hardly massive victories, and defections are still a trickle more than a flood, but they are a trickle that is growing into a small stream, and seeds of revolution have been built on less.
Also, yesterday we documented the resignation of the Attorney General in Hama over the torture and death of 72 prisoners in Hama's central prison. We could be wrong, but we don't believe that those 72 were included in yesterday's report by Amnesty International that 88 people have died in Syrian prisons, 10 of them children, and 52 cases of torture have been documented.
So, international and regional pressures are increasing on Syria. Internal fissures are starting to show. And regardless of how many bullets Assad's military fires at protesters, the opposition clearly show no signs of backing down.
An impressive anti-Assad rally in Khalidiya, Homs:
Hzano Village, Idlib Province, Northwest Syria:
Night protests in Hama, despite a massive security presence in the city: