2133 GMT: Bahraini police have released claimed footage, released by Bahraini police, of 17-year-old Mohammad Ebrahim Yaghoob (see 0555 and 1700 GMT), who was allegedly hit by a police jeep on Wednesday and later died in hospital.
The video shows an alert Ebrahim Yaghoob, but he is in great discomfort, apparently from pain in his lower body, and needs to rest on the person next to him; also pain seems to be stemming from lower part.
This would appear to match up with the video we posted this morning, where Ebrahim Yaghoob appears to be limping away after being struck by the police jeep.
Curiously, the video --- like the one released by police earlier this month in which they denied beating activist Nabeel Rajab --- has no sound, limiting what we can learn of the incident.
2123 GMT: The "yellow" tear gas in Abu Saiba in Bahrain tonight:
In another scene, this teargas canister was reportedly fired through a window of the car:
2025 GMT: An incredible find. Our colleague Josh Shahryar has provided English subtitles to a video, in Farsi, that reportedly shows Iranian soldiers inside Syria who have been captured by the Free Syrian Army. Josh Shahryar also says that he is certain, based on their accents, that these men are Iranian.
2000 GMT: Many Twitter accounts from Bahrain report heavy use of teargas, particularly in Sitra. Several activists reported that they have fled their homes, and some have reported that it is necessary to take people to the hospital because the gas is so toxic.
they also report similar sentiments to the one that we posted below. The gas being used is new, strangely colored, and extremely dangerous.
1955 GMT: A Bahraini activist sends us this message:
"At this time no exaggeration all our villages heavily attacked with toxic gasses NOBODY KNOW WHAT IT IS"
1941 GMT: According to the Local Coordinating Committees of Syria, over 1300 people have been killed by the Syrian regime since the arrival of Arab League observers:
The number of the recorded martyrs in Syria since the arrival of the Arab League Observers’ committee reached thus far 1317 martyrs, including 30 women, 70 children (out of them 15 female child), 67 martyrs killed under torturing. Homs had the biggest share with an 464 martyrs followed by Idlib with 252 martyrs then Damascus and it’s suburb with 164 martyrs and then Hama with 145 martyrs.
The UN, for its part, has ceased to tally the deaths in Syria because the numbers are now too hard to verify, though they admit that far more than 400 have died since the Arab League mission began in Syria.
However, according to the latest report from the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria, 6729 have died since the start of the crisis, and nearly 18,000 are detained:
1847 GMT: These soldiers have defected and joined the Free Syrian Army in Homs. Someone starts to chant, "The army and the people are one hand," an Egyptian chant popular last January, and then the people chant "May God protect the Free Syrian Army."
1830 GMT: A truly gruesome scene - This extremely disturbing video was reportedly taken in the Karm al Zaytoun district of Homs. According to the description, an entire family was killed by "shabiha." In the video are the bodies of at least 4 very young children, several other slightly older children, and some adults.
1822 GMT: Back from a quick break to find that the death toll in Syria has nearly tripled. According to the Local Coordinating Committees of Syria, 43 have been killed by security, "including 10 children, 4 women, 30 in Homs, 4 in Damascus Suburbs, 3 in Hama, 3 in Idlib, 2 in Daraa, 1 in Damascus, and 7 defected soldiers killed by the regime’s forces using heavy weaponry."
Since our last report, it appears that Homs is the area where the majority of the new reports have come from, though the Damascus suburbs have also contributed.
1735 GMT: Said Yousif Almuhafda, of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, reports that another young man, Ahmad Isa, was run over and killed by riot police in Karzakkan village. Also, another activist sends us this graphic photo, accompanied by this description:
"Injury a young man today in Bahrain by Shotgun weapon internationally prohibited yfrog.com/mgzooyj"
1709 GMT: Gunfire in the Baba Amr district of Homs, Syria, where fighting has lasted into the night:
1700 GMT: Bahraini activists have distributed this picture, reportedly showing the body of a man who was reportedly tortured by police. We believe his name is Muntazar al Said Fakhar. Beside that picture is an image that purports to show the man when he was alive:
This video, shared with us by a correspondent in Bahrain, shows a bruise in the shape of a footprint clearly visible as they wash the body to prepare it for burial:
In both the picture and the video, there appear to be clear signs of abuse.
Activists are also questioning the official narrative of the government in the case of 17-year-old Mohamed Ebrahim Yaghoob. According to a human rights activist, Ebrahim Yaghoob suffered from internal bleeding after he was hit by police jeeps (see updates below) and could have been saved, but was treated by a pro-regime doctor and died because he was not immediately considered in urgent need of care.
There is no way for EA to verify this report at this time.
1624 GMT: Activist Edward Dark shares this video, reportedly filmed by Syrian soldiers and leaked to the opposition. According to the description of the video, provided originally by the Coordinated Committee of Lattakia, the soldiers shoot randomly into the city of Hama, shouting "God is great" and praising Bashar al Assad. At one point, at least one of the soldiers says, with a smile, "we fucked Hama!"
Like many videos, this is impossible to validate.
1615 GMT: The Local Coordinating Committees of Syria report that 16 have died today in Syria at the hands of security forces, "including five defected soldiers and 2 women. 10 martyrs in Homs, two martyrs in Damascus suburbs, and a martyr in each of Idlib, Daraa, and Hama." That breakdown is only 15, so we're not sure where the discrepancy is.
they also post this video, reportedly showing gunfire in Douma. According to the description attached to the video, the Free Syrian Army tried to stop the Syrian security forces from entering Douma. This would suggest that there is not a cease-fire agreement yet in Douma, and that earlier reports that the FSA withdrew from the city were either inaccurate or are now outdated.
For now, we're not entirely sure how to reconcile these discrepancies.
“The lack of oversight by the central authorities creates an environment conducive to torture and ill-treatment,” Pillay said. “My staff have received alarming reports that this is happening in places of detention that they have visited.”
She said it was urgent that all Libya's detention centers be brought under control of the Ministry of Justice and General Prosecutor's Office and that detainees be screened so that they could be freed or receive a fair trial.
1525 GMT: After 13 people have died from teargas incidents in recent months, Amnesty International has called for an investigation into the practices of the Bahraini police. According to The Guardian, "In a statement, AI says that a 20-year-old man was seriously injured and hospitalised on Tuesday after being hit on the head by a canister launched by riot police in Manama. This is just the latest instance which begs questions about the security forces' use of tear gas, it says:
A Bahraini human rights group has reported at least 13 deaths resulting from the security forces' use of tear gas against peaceful protesters as well as inside people's homes since February 2011, with a rise in such deaths in recent months.
"The rise in fatalities and eyewitness accounts suggest that tear gas is being used inappropriately by Bahraini security forces, including in people's homes and other confined spaces," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.
"The Bahraini authorities must investigate and account for the reports of more than a dozen deaths following tear gas use. The security forces must be instructed on how to use tear gas in line with international policing standards."
1505 GMT: Dramatic video from Sitra, Bahrain. Reportedly taken today, this video shows members of "the youth" defending the same area where Mohamed Ebrahim Yaghoob was run over yesterday (see update at 0555 GMT). It is unclear whether the youth attacked the police before or after the teargas was fired:
1456 GMT: Meanwhile, in Yemen, large protests continue today in Sana'a, demanding the trial of President Ali Abdullah Saleh:
1444 GMT: This picture reportedly shows the teargas clouds filling a street in Sitra, Bahrain. Activists report that large (and dangerously inappropriate) amounts of teargas are being used, once again, in residential neighborhoods in order to stop protests:
1432 GMT: In Qamishli, a major city in the Hasaka governorate, population of more than 230,000 people, is often the cite of protests. But Qamishli is also a majority-Kurdish city, and though Kurdish leaders, who tend to be older, continually express reservations about some of the Syrian National Council Leaders, who tend to be older, large numbers of the youth of the city continue to show their support for the opposition and their defiance against the regime.
Today, the LCCS reported 3 hours ago that large demonstrations were being held there, and this video shows the enthusiasm in the crowd:
"The Free Syrian Army (FSA) has almost complete control of some areas of the Damascus countryside and some control in Douma and Harasta," an activist who gave his name as Hussein told Reuters by telephone from the suburb of Harasta.
Other activists in Douma, Harasta and Irbin said security forces had gathered in their towns after rebels retreated because they could not fight pitched battles with the army.
"Assad's army has armoured vehicles and anti-aircraft guns while we only have rifles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs)," said an FSA fighter who calls himself Abu Thaer.
Activists said five people were wounded by army shelling on Wednesday night, but gave no details of rebel casualties.
According to the report, the opposition's LCCS reported that 6 defectors were killed on Wednesday and Syrian State TV SANA reported that 14 security forces were killed. Assuming both reports are accurate, the FSA fared better in the fighting that the far-superior Syrian army.
1410 GMT: Getting caught up on Syria, the AP reports that the Syrian army has stormed the Damascus suburb, Douma, assisted by shabiha. According to activists, the security situation there is extremely tight:
"They are entering homes, searching cars and stopping people in the streets to check identity cards," activist and Douma resident Mohammed al-Saeed told The Associated Press, saying the soldiers had lists of wanted people. "There is very little movement in the streets and nobody is allowed to leave or enter Douma."
Though fighting was reported earlier, it appears that the security forces met no resistance.Meanwhile, after almost 24 hours of fighting in the Damascus suburbs of Harasta, Douma, and Irbin, a local governor has told Reuters that the Syrian regime is negotiating cease-fire deals with the opposition in some areas around the capital:
"Many of them (in the opposition) have been misled. They will eventually come back to the right way," Hussein Makhlouf, governor of Damascus countryside, told Arab League monitors before they headed for Irbin on their first outing in a week.
"We have started a dialogue with them, including some armed groups that are controlling positions there," Makhlouf said.
He told the monitors that the authorities were using "the same approach as in Zabadani, so the same scenario will happen."
If this is true, then it is a striking development. The Syrian regime has an extremely large and well equipped military, and the majority of that military remains intact. The security forces have, until last week, suffered no rival, but as of right now the Free Syrian Army completely controls Zabadani (northwest of Damascus) and Kafer Takharim (Idlib), the insurgents have a strong presence across Idlib province, they may have won control of parts of Qusair, south of Homs, they have won victories outside of Daraa, and now they may have a cease-fire agreement immediately outside Damascus. This means that the regime believe it is losing ground and needs to, at the very least, stall for time before it faces further collapse.
More details when we have them.
James Miller takes over for Scott Lucas.
1200 GMT: Bahrain's Ministry of Interior has said that a detainee has died amidst clashes between security forces and protesters.
The statement by the Interior Ministry said public prosecutors are investigating the death, one of more than 60 since protests began last February. It claimed the detainee was hospitalised and accused of "vandalism".
The statement did not name the victim, but it is likely to be Mohammad Ebrahim Yaghoob, who was injured and later died on Wednesday, allegedly after he was struck by a police jeep (see 0555 GMT).
1050 GMT: The BBC's Jeremy Bowen reports from inside the Damascus suburb of Douma --- can it be said to be a "free" area held by the opposition and the Free Syrian Army?
1045 GMT: Tens of thousands of protesters march from the Cairo neighbourhood of Mohandiseen to Tahrir Square yesterday, marking the anniversary of the uprising against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak:
1035 GMT: Back from an academic break to find footage from Aldaih in Bahrain of the funerals of two men who allegedly died at the hands of security forces on Tuesday --- an EA source reports that human right activists are participating in the march and referring to the deaths as "martyrdom":
0555 GMT: In Bahrain, a fourth protester, Mohammed Ebrahim Yaghoob, was killed in two days, allegedly struck by a vehicle of the security forces. In the first part of the video, police jeeps appear to pursue and possibly run down protesters; in the second part --- which a source says was shot before the death, police are showing chasing and beating demonstrators, as those filming the scene watch and scream:
0545 GMT: For months we have held back from the term "civil war" to describe the situation in Syria --- that emotive term, in which "civil" might or might not be read as "sectarian", did not necessarily match up to the evolving state of affairs on the ground.
Now, however, we are prepared to put the political and military clashes within the framework of insurrection. After last week's claiming of two towns, Zabadani and Kafar
Souseh Takharim, by the opposition, there is the prospect of others slipping beyond the control of the regime.
Then there is Homs and Hama, Syria's third- and fourth-largest cities. Both have been hammered for months by the security forces and military, with more than 1000 now estimated to have died in Hama since last month, but this now seems to be far more than President Assad's men trying to put down resistance and punish dissent. It appears that, as the killing escalated this week, there are "battles" taking place between rival forces --- unequal in the firepower that each can bring, but beyond a regime's troops trying to deal with a local problem of protest. And those battles show no prospect of ending in an Assad triumph.