Video montage of Sunday's funeral of 16-year-old Sayed Hashim in Bahrain --- there is also a 23-minute version with overhead shots
2311 GMT: An activist with extensive contacts in Damascus has given EA these videos, reportedly showing protests "in Shahbandar square in the heart of Damascus just a few meters from Sabaa Bahrat square," approximately here. There are, according to the activist, only 500 meters between the squares.
Protests in the center of Damascus are always significant, and this appears to be a significant protest, in a significant area.
2139 GMT: Syria activists have started a new campaign, using the Twitter hashtag #FreeSyriasDetainees. While Syria has reportedly released several thousand political prisoners, the campaign is designed to raise the visibility of the tens of thousands whom activists claim still remain in prison for political reasons.
This video, entitled "A message to the free world from mothers of a martyr and a detainee," is subtitled in English specifically to help spread the message:
An FSA checkpoint in Baba Amr. The FSA keep a watch day and night to prevent Assad forces from entering
2115 GMT: The Syrian National Council has launched an English website and has called for foreign intervention in Syria. Perhaps even more importantly, they appear to have consulted military experts to devise a plan. The two key paragraphs are posted below:
A recent study issued by the Strategic Research and Communication Center entitled "Safe Area for Syria: an Assessment of Legality, Logistics, and Hazards" lays out the different forms of intervention with the risks and logistical elements that need to be considered. The SNC has been working with military experts, academic professionals, public policy experts, and strategic advisors to formulate the most accurate approach for civilian protection. The SNC submitted official requests to the Arab League and the United Nation to excersise the "Responsibility to Protect" and save the innocent lives being killed and tortured in Syria. The UN Security Council failed several times to issue a condemnation due to the veto by Russia and China. However, the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Commission both issued condemnation resolutions. The Arab League issued historic resolutions and imposed sanctions on the Assad regime.
The SNC urgently requested that [international organizations, such as the Arab League and the United Nations] support the Syrian people's and the Syrian Revolution's demands for international protection, the establishment of safe zones for civilians, and the establishment of humanitarian corridors for delivery of relief, medical, and other humanitarian needs. The SNC also demanded a prompt intervention to stop the massacres, which have reached the level of genocide and which coincide with the signing of the Arab League Protocol to send observers into Syria.
2057 GMT: According to Nabeel Rajab, President of Bahrain Center for Human Rights, the village of Salihyia was indeed attacked while he was present. He reports that the people of the village were "attacked." Apparently, he escaped the raid. There is no mention on his timeline of specific activists who may have been arrested.
2043 GMT: Some breaking news from Bahrain - activist Mariam Al Sarraj, who was arrested last month alongside activist Zainab alKhawaja, is reporting that her father, and many others, were arrested in the village of Salihyia. According to Mariam's report, which is somewhat confusing, she was visiting her uncle's house, where activist Nabeel Rajab may have been staying, at the time of the arrests.
While significant, we're afraid that the details, thanks to translation issues, appear to be very muddled, but we'll continue to monitor the situation.
In the second video, a man speaks to the camera from the side of a makeshift ambulance/hearse. He says that this is the
body of Khaled Abu Salah [Update:, Khaled Abu Salah is the name of the activist speaking, not the man who died] who was killed while the Arab League observers were in the city of Baba Amr, Homs:
1854 GMT: A quick scan of the Syrian state TV outlet, SANA, reveals a few interesting stories.
In the first, SANA reports that Shukri Abu el-Burghol, journalist at al-Thawra newspaper, died after being shot "by armed terrorists" over the weekend. According to the report, "Abu el-Burghol was struck with a bullet beneath his eye while he was at home preparing a weekly report for Damascus Radio." Pro-regime blogs are spinning this as an assassination, and multiple journalistic agencies associated with the state have pledged to continue their coverage, despite the dangers.
However, one news source has an almost-too-honest account, which casts doubt on the story that el-Burghol was assassinated:
Shekri's son Adham told the Syrian TV that while they were sitting at home, they heard intense gunfire nearby. Wanting to know what was happening, his father stood up, which was when a bullet shot through a window and struck him in the eye.
Shekri's other son Maher said that gunfire was very intense and couldn't have been more than 100 meters away from their home, and that when his father stood up the bullet hit him under his eye and came out from near his ear.
The report then goes on to say that, though Burghol had received death threats, there were pro and anti government rallies nearby, and there was shooting at the rallies. Of course, the regime website still maintains that the opposition was shooting at the pro-government protests, but it still seems to paint Burghol as an unintended victim of the incident.
1832 GMT: The Saudi Ministry of Interior has ordered the arrest of 23 Shia Muslims in the kingdom's Eastern Province, claiming they are responsible for unrest that has led to shootings and protests in recent weeks.
The regime accused the wanted men of serving the agenda of a foreign power, presumably a reference to Iran. "We do have evidence of a relationship with somebody else abroad," Ministry spokesman Major General Mansour Turki told a news conference. "Now how much, or what kind of relationship and how strong that relationship, this still has to be investigated and that is what we want these people for."
The Ministry tried to avert claims of sectarian prosecution praising the "honorable" people of Eastern Province, home to most Saudi Shia.
1822 GMT: Opposition activists said that insurgents captured dozens of members of Syrian security forces when they seized two military checkpoints and clashed with regime troops at a third checkpoint, killing and wounding some of them.
A large demonstration in Binnish in northwest Syria chants to President Assad, "The people want your execution, Bashar":
The military courts have issued at least five death penalties, a number of life sentences, and numerous lengthy sentences.
The Bahrain News Agency said rulings subject to review would include convictions for statements that did not amount to incitement to violence.
Zainab Alkhawaja, whose activist father Abdulhadi has been sentenced to life, reported via Twitter this evening, "We just got a call from my father, he says they're taking him to court tomorrow. They gave no reasons."
Claimed footage of Bahraini police trying to run over protesters in Bori & shooting at them as they escape:
1732 GMT: We've seen many videos from Daraya, Damascus today, showing large crowds gathering to greet, and report to, the Arab League observers. The first video was reportedly taken before the arrival of the observers, just as the crowds were gathering:
This video shows a woman, among the crowd, reporting to the observer. While we don't have a translation, activists say that she is passionately describing rights abuses by the regime:
But Daraya has also seen violence. According to activists, Hussein Hallak was killed by a sniper in the city. The LCCS says that the observers saw his funeral, and still others are claiming that he was shot while the observers were actually in the city, though it is unclear if either claim is true. LCCS also posts this graphic video, reportedly showing his body.
1722 GMT: A steep escalation since the last LCCS report. The Local Coordinating Committees now report that 20 have been killed by security forces, "11 martyrs in Homs, 3 in Idlib " Jabal Al-Zawiyah , Areha & Saraqeb, 5 martyrs in Damascus Suburbs "2 Shefonieh and a martyr each in Daraya, Arben and Abbadah" and a martyr in Misyaf."
According to the news agency, the Syrian step “is part of the punitive measures which Syria has embraced as acts of retaliation for the economic sanctions which Turkey imposed on Damascus in coordination with the Arab sanctions.”
1640 GMT: Another hard-to-watch video - This video reportedly shows a woman who was hit by a sniper in the Khalidiya district in Homs. According to activists, she is receiving medical attention in a home, like most who are injured in Homs, because it is not safe to go to the hospital.
1530 GMT: Aleppo is always important, and we've been watching a protest movement grow exponentially on the University of Aleppo's campus in the last month. Today, large protests are once again reported, but this is the first video we've seen:
1523 GMT: Activist Alexander Page has posted an extremely graphic video. It shows two men whose bodies were reported found "in the middle of nowhere in Jabl-Azzawyeh in Idlib." The area has been a flashpoint of violence in the area, where defectors and loyalists have been clashing for months. Reports of kidnappings are, unfortunately, not rare, but these bodies appear to have been badly abused before death.
The total number of martyrs since the Syrian Revolution started in March the 15th to this moment has reached 5899 martyrs. Among them 390 martyrs were killed since the Arab League Observers mission came to Syria. Of those 390, there are 30 children and another 24 were murdered under torture.
Looking to a more immediate situation report, the LCCS says that 10 have died today, "including a female child. Six martyrs in Homs, 2 in Jabal Al-Zawiyah & Saraqeb and one martyrdom in each of Daraya (Damascus Suburbs) and Misyaf (Hama Suburbs)."
1448 GMT: Some reading al-Araby's statements (below) may think that he has been too easy on the regime, and has left the door open to say that the regime may not be solely responsible for the violence. However, other statements from the Arab League are much more clear:
The head of an advisory board to the Arab League called Sunday for the withdrawal of observers from Syria, claiming the mission has allowed Syrian officials to continue a brutal crackdown on protesters.
"What is happening allows the Syrian regime a cover for the exercise of its inhumane practices under the Arab League's watch," Ali Salem al-Deqbasi said in a statement, according to Egypt's state-run MENA news agency.
1437 GMT: We've been watching the Arab League observers for over a week. Initial skepticism that they would not take their job seriously was replaced by a focus on the citizen journalists who are filming exactly what the observers have seen in order to keep them honest. Today, we're seeing some of their initial findings.
The head of the Arab League has given a statement that matches some of our own observations. Nabil el-Araby has said that the violence in Syria has continued, despite the release of 3,500 prisoners, and despite the fact that tanks have withdrawn from some neighborhoods:
"There is still gunfire, there are still snipers and we hope that all that will disappear," Nabil el-Araby told reporters, adding: "There is gunfire from various directions which makes it hard to tell who is shooting.
"There is no doubt that killing is ongoing but I can't pinpoint the numbers," he said.
Tanks remain on the outskirts of cities, he said after an advance team of Arab League monitors returned from the violence-wracked country and began preparing an initial report.
Meanwhile, the observations continue. According to activists, this video was taken today in Idlib, a city that has been hard hit, but a location where the regime has been unable to assume full control at all times:
1410 GMT: Back from a holiday break to find that the appeal of Bahraini students against their prison sentences has been postponed to 5 March.
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights has posted an appeal which "strongly condemns the ongoing violations against university students in Bahrain and the continued detention of several university students even after the release of confirmed information that arrests have occurred due to people exercising their legitimate rights of expressing their freedom of opinion and peaceful assembly".
1030 GMT: There were candle-lit marches across Bahrain last night --- footage of the rally in Aldair:
And more images of the clashes between security forces and protesters in Sitra on Sunday:
Ali Saleh Al Saleh wrote in a public letter: "I am no longer able to assume the important responsibility of heading the National Commission and I request Your Majesty to relieve me of chairing the commission." He cited "the emergence of voices in mosques and expressions in some newspapers doubting my integrity and targeting my credibility and honour".
Al Saleh was criticised by name in the Friday prayers of some pro-regime religious leaders.
0635 GMT: Activists of the Local Coordinating Committees say 13 people, including a child, were killed in Syria on Sunday --- 4 in Homs, 4 in Idlib, 3 in Hama, and 2 in the Damascus suburb of Darraya.
0633 GMT:The tear gas in Saar in Bahrain early this morning:
0630 GMT: The pattern of events in Bahrain this weekend was far from new. Security forces, firing tear gas throughout the island, killed a teenager, Sayed Hashim, with one of the canisters on Saturday. The next day, the police fired again throughout the kingdom, including on protesters after the Hashim funeral procession.
What was distinctive was that international media noticed some of the events. AFP, Reuters, and the Associated Press posted reports, and Bahrain has a featured position on Al Jazeera English around the story of Sayed Hashim: "The death of a teenage boy on Saturday has triggered a new round of clashes."
Meanwhile, this moment of black comedy --- watch the policeman who emerges from the vehicle chasing after a protester:
An occupant of an unmarked car, possibly of the security forces, fires at a group of demonstrators in Sitra: