A large anti-regime rally in Barzeh, near the Syrian capital Damascus
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Monday's Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Meaningless Amnesty, Cosmetic Speech?
2053 GMT: After the violence and deaths in Homs today, one of a series of demonstrations tonight in nearby areas, in this case, Deir Ba'alba:
A mass anti-regime rally in Dael in Daraa Province in southern Syria tonight:
Mahatta in Daraa Province, expressing sympathy with the people of Homs:
1823 GMT: Another video from Homs. This was reportedly taken in the Bayada district. Note that the smoke that shoots out of the top of the tank is the mechanism that expels spent shells:
1816 GMT: This video reportedly shows a fairly significant protest in the Kafer Sousseh district of Damascus, where many government buildings are located. The protesters reportedly marched in the area of the Prime Minister's Council building, which we believe is here, and we believe is pictured at the start of the video:
1750 GMT: Activists have been reporting protests in the Sayiede Zainab suburb of Damascus, and LCCS posts this video (below) reportedly taken there. Also, there are reports of demonstrationsi n the important Kafer Sousseh district.
The current number of today's martyrs is 30 including four defected recruits, a lady, a disabled young man and 2 children. In Homs, there were 18 martyrs, 7 in Idlib , 2 martyrs in Damascus Suburbs "Madaya and Qatana" and one in each of Khan Sheikhon (Idlib suburbs), Daraa and Sahl Al-Ghab (Hama suburbs).
How bad are things in Homs today? LCCS posts a video of damaged cars, and activists have sent us this video, more tank shells exploding on apartment buildings in the Khalidiya district of Homs:1626 GMT: Another sign of how bad things have become in Homs. According to the description of the graphic video, security forces opened fire on this ambulance as the paramedic tried to help wounded protesters in the street. The man, apparently dead, in the street is reportedly the paramedic.
1615 GMT: An extremely violent video from the Bayada district of Homs. These are apartment buildings, apparently being shelled by tanks that are out of frame. After the initial explosion, heavy machine-gun fire can be heard:
17 are reportedly killed already in the city.
1608 GMT: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is reporting that a bomb went off inside a motorbus on the Aleppo-Idlib highway, killing at least 8. EA's sources have confirmed some of the details, and activists have uploaded the EXTREMELY GRAPHIC video, reportedly showing some of the wounded.
The current number of today's martyrs is 28 including four defected recruits, a lady and a disabled young man. In Homs, there were 17 martyrs, 7 in Idlib and one in each of Khan Sheikhon (Idlib suburbs), Qatana (Damascus suburbs), Daraa and Sahl Al-Ghab (Hama suburbs).
The death toll in Homs is even higher than normal.
An EA correspondent notes that there is little news out of Zabadani, but communications have been in and out (mostly out).
1537 GMT: Turning to Bahrain, for weeks the pro-government Twitter accounts have accused the opposition of putting children in harms way, or even of inciting children to violence. Now, the Shura council has passed a law that would ban the presence of children from political events.
People found guilty of using youngsters aged below 18 as pawns in such events will face up to a year in jail, a BD1,000 ($2,652) fine or both.
What's interesting, however, is that it appears most of the children injured since the uprising started in March were injured in their own homes. The Guardian has posted several pictures of children who were injured recently.
1526 GMT: According to activists, the Arab League monitors traveled to Kisweh, south of Damascus, and were greeted by large crowds, some of whom chanted "the people want the execution of the president."
The CFDPC has posted several videos of the observers in the city.
Security forces and Assad armed thugs began at 6 am a campaign of raids in the Dumair suburb of Damascus supported by armored vehicles, and as result:
- the house of Adham Khalaf was raided and Assad forces tried to arrest his son
- Ishak al-Natour was arrested from his home
- two people, who had rented the house opposite to that of Adham Khalaf, were arrested and they are not from Dumair
- the tent for the wake placed in the square of al-Sheikh Mahmoud mosque was destroyed by Assad armed thugs
- theft of 35 000 Syrian pounds from the home of Ahmad al-Kajmi
- several houses were raided, among them those of Jamal Hadal and Hussein Abdallah
1450 GMT: As the violence in Syria continues to intensify, the Free Syrian Army appears to be striking back. Previously, we wrote that we had video evidence of the FSA in Zabadani, a city northwest of Damascus that is under attack. Today, we have received video of what appears to be a destroyed tank, purportedly destroyed at the hands of the FSA.
1436 GMT: James Miller takes the liveblog, and so far it has been an extremely bloody day in Syria.
According to the Local Coordinating Committees of Syria, 22 have been killed nationwide by security forces,
"Including four defected recruits, a lady and a disabled young man. In Homs, there were 15 martyrs, 3 in Areha (idlib) and one in each of Khan Sheikhon (Idlib suburbs), Qatana (Damascus suburbs), Daraa and Sahl Al-Ghab (Hama suburbs)."
There are currently widespread reports of more violence in Homs.
However, the important story that has largely gone unreported are the clashes at Aleppo University. Yesterday there were large protests, and many arrests. Today, LCCS (citing activists whom we have also heard reports from) say that there were more clashes late last night, and many injuries:
Wounded of college students including critical conditions, arrived to Aleppo University Hospital at midnight last night, and they suffer injuries and facial fractures.
Protests at the University have been disrupted by teargas, gunfire, and arrests over the last 5 days. However, Yesterday's news appears to mark a further escalation of the conflict on the campus in Syria's second largest city.
0910 GMT: State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland answers a question from Twitter, "How Do You Answer to the Power of Bahraini Demonstrators?". Reading from a script, she says, "The United States does remain concerned about continuing acts of violence in Bahrain between the police and the demonstrators. The key to Bahrain's future, as we have been discussing with officials in Bahrain, is a real dialogue among Bahrainis that is going to serve as the foundation for reconcilation and a renewed spirit of national unity. The Government of Bahrain has taken significant steps --- it has called for an independent Commission of Inquiry into some of the recent violence...and now the Government of Bahrain is working hard to implement those recommendations."
0707 GMT: Yemen's Foreign Minister Abubakr al-Qirbi has said it might be difficult to hold elections next month because of insecurity: "I am among those who hope that the issue (presidential elections) will take place in the planned manner. But unfortunately, there are a couple of events relating to security, and if they are not solved...it will be difficult to run the elections on February 21."
Those who turned up for jobs in the new police force were from smaller militias, rather than the large forces outside Tripoli which have raised questions about factional fighting and challenging to the ruling National Transitional Council.
“[The request[ may increase,” said Fayza Abul Naga, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, at a news conference with a visiting delegation from the Fund.
Egypt’s reserves of foreign currency have fallen from a peak of about $36 billion before the revolution to about $10 billion, enough to cover two months of imports.
0610 GMT: Yesterday morning we posted the first of a series of analyses by James Miller on "The State of the Syrian Uprising", which argued, "So far, President Assad has been able to match the militarized wing of the uprising, but he is losing ground, every day, to a peaceful protest movement that is eroding his support, both in Syria and beyond."
That analysis held up on Monday. Another 15 people died at the hands of security forces, according to activists. Regime forces reportedly surrounded the city of Zabadani, with claims that some soldiers were "liquidated for refusing to shoot at civilians".
And still the large protest continued. Just as we illustrated Miller's analysis from footage from Aleppo and the Damascus suburbs, so we post, at the top of the entry, video of last night's rally at Barzeh near the Syrian capital.