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Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Watching an Explosion

Footage of the moment a bomb exploded in Damascus on Friday

See also Bahrain Interview: Nabeel Rajab - How Police Attacked the Manama March and Beat Me
Bahrain Feature: Dar Kulaib --- The Regime's "Sectarian" Tactics and A Village Under Assault
Saturday's Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Starting 2012 With a Bang

2110 GMT: Richard Sollom, Deputy President of the U.S.-based Physicians for Human Rights, has been denied entry into Bahrain despite the regime's pledge of transparency over its legal and political procedures.

Sollom, an American citizen, intended to observe Monday's hearing in civilian court in the case of 20 doctors and nurses who have been given prison sentences of 5 to 15 years by a military tribunal.

2010 GMT: Protesters march in Sitra in Bahrain today, chanting, "We have a right to defend ourselves" --- police subsequently fired tear gas at a group of demonstrators on the main highway:

1940 GMT: The Arab League has concluded its meeting in Cairo, after hearing the first report of the head of its observers, with the repeated demand that the Syrian regime immediately stop all violence and allow more monitors into the country. However, the League did not agree on any measures, such as the call for United Nations experts to join the observers' mission.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabr Al Thani said the UN experts would train the monitors in Cairo before they leave for Syria.

The ministers did not put an exact number of observers in its demand to Damascus. Initially, the League had requested to send 500 monitors, but so far Syria has allowed in only 165.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 11 regime soldiers died and 20 were wounded by insurgents iin the town of Basr al-Harir in Daraa Province in the south. The Observation said 10 people, including two teenagers were killed by security fores. Seven of the dead were in Homs.

1930 GMT: Claimed footage of colleagues pulling a dead man out of the street in Zabadani in Syria today:

A large rally in Tamaneh in Idlib Province:

And a mass demonstration in the Qosour area of Homs:

1600 GMT: A student demonstration this afternoon in the Modamiya area of the Syrian capital Damascus:

Inkhel in Daraa Province:

1407 GMT: A scene you might not expect in Bahrain --- a policeman appears to tap out the beat to the protest anthem, "Tnn, tn, tn (Down, Down King Hamad)":

1400 GMT: Egyptian prosecutors, investigating the violence in front of and near Cabinet offices that erupted on 16 December, have summoned engineer Mamdouh Hamza and presidential hopeful Ayman Nour for questioning on Tuesday. The summons comes after the two men were alleged during investigations of responsibility for inciting clashes and burning public buildings, including the historic Scientific Institute.

Security forces, including army soldiers and officers, fought protesters around the Cabinet building and nearby Tahrir Square after the military dispersed the Cabinet sit-in. During five days of clashes, 16 protesters were killed and 973 injured.

0905 GMT: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that 11 regime troops were killed and 20 wounded before dawn in clashes with insurgents in Daraa Province. The activists added that nine soldiers had defected.

The Observatory also reported machine gun exchanges between the army and defectors in the Daraa town of Dael.

0855 GMT: A series of interesting snapshots from Bahrain....

In a separate feature, EA's John Horne assesses evidence of a regime campaign of systematic assault of the village of Dar Kulaib, hoping to provoke a violent response so the opposition can be portrayed as "sectarian".

At the same time, we notice this video of men loading Molotov cocktails into a car and ask, "Who are they?":

And the regime-linked Gulf Daily News headlines, "A top Shia cleric yesterday slammed Bahrain's opposition movement, accusing it of pushing the country to the brink of destruction."

The cleric is Shaikh Mohsin Hussein Al Asfoor, a former judge at the High Sharia Court, who maintains, "Al Wefaq and opposition groups have lost on all grounds and are now terrorising their own supporters and the state."

0710 GMT: Bahraini police arrest a group of youths in Tubli:

0700 GMT: The 35-second video is straightforward in its depiction --- people flee, with one person thrown in the air, as a bomb explodes on Friday in the Syrian capital Damascus, under the highway overpass next to a bus belonging to the security forces.

Less than 48 hours after the blast, in which 25 people died, life, death, and crisis moves on in Syria. On the political front, Arab League Foreign Ministers will meet in Cairo to discuss the findings of its observers and to consider its next steps. Qatar, which is pressing for stronger measures, will ask the League to invite United Nations technicians and human rights experts to help the monitors.

Even if this was adopted, that first step towards international intervention is still a long way from a significant step such as a safe haven. So, with its victims buried but little resolved about Friday's explosion --- who was behind it? why? --- the battle within will continue with the daily rituals of security forces manoeuvres, in which a couple of dozen people are likely to die, and protests across the country.

Last night in Daraa in southern Syria:

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