Claimed footage of Syrian forces lining up detainees in Deir Ez Zor Province --- activists claim some of those held were later among 75 dead found in a cemetery on Friday
The website names four of the activists who are still held.
In a calm voice, Sheikh Mohammed Fardoun listed his relatives, 18 in all, who he said were killed Thursday in an airstrike by Syrian Army MiG fighter jets in the northern town of Maaret al-Numan.
"Fatma Assam Hajj Khamis, Abdel Aziz Hajj Khamis, Abu Abdel Azziz Hajj Khamis, Hassan Hajj Khamis," he told CNN in a telephone interview.
"As soon as we heard the sound of the shelling, I ran out in the street and found the home of my aunt completely leveled," said Fardoun.
"The scene cannot be described. What you see on TV and on YouTube cannot describe this crime. The building was completely leveled to the ground."
1933 GMT: Bahrain. Ahmed Al-Haddad reports on the fate of three fellow activists arrested today as they tried to reach besieged Al-Eker village:
Zainab al-Khawaja has been released now & they're suppose to release Said Yousif & Naji Fateel after the medical examination. #Bahrain— Ahmed Al-haddad (@DiabloHaddad) October 21, 2012
1855 GMT: Israel-Palestine. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed today to continue building in East Jerusalem, despite objections from Palestinians who claim the territory as capital of their State.
Netanyahu spoke after European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton criticised plans to build 800 new apartments and a military college on land which the international community considers to be under Israeli occupation.
"We are not imposing any restrictions on construction in Jerusalem" Netanyahu told his Cabinet. "It is our capital."
Najmeh Abu Rdeneh, a top aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said Netanyahu's comment was "in the context of the continuing destruction of the peace process and the two-state solution".
1715 GMT: Bahrain. Activist Zainab AlKhawaja yells, "Allahu Akbar" as she is arrested while trying to deliver humanitarian goods to besieged AlEker:
1655 GMT: Kuwait. Protesters on Gulf Road:
1645 GMT: Kuwait. A potentially significant opposition protest is underway, with many people massing at Kuwait Towers, after earlier demonstrations were dispersed by security forces with tear gas and sound bombs. Activists on the ground are reporting that the area around the Towers has been "completely cordoned off and blocked by police", however a significant number of protesters appear to be there already:
بالصور... المشاركون في مسيرة_كرامة_وطن يقطعون شارع الخليج twitter.com/AlraiMediaGrou…— Alrai Media Group (@AlraiMediaGroup) October 21, 2012
In the last fifteen minutes, Aljarida newspaper has reported that "hundreds" of protesters are continuing to arrive. Regional commentator Mishaal Al Gergawi also tweets: "Musallam Al Barak (the opposition's front man and orator) says he and Dr. Obaid Al Wasmi are now on their way to #Kuwait towers".
Bahrain/Israel/Palestine. Maryam AlKhawaja has withdrawn from a UNESCO conference on human rights. In an open letter to the organisers, written in a personal capacity, Maryam explains that whilst she was "honoured" to be invited to participate in an event which will honour her father, Abdulhadi AlKhawaja, she is "utterly disappointed" that he is to be honoured alongside Shimon Peres. The letter, which has been reprinted on Electronic Intifada, also contains a list of human rights violations which Peres is allegedly responsible for. The letter reads in part:
My father always says that when it comes to human rights, there is no grey area, you both stand for human rights everywhere and against perpetrators of human rights violations or you do not. I believe that allowing myself to accept honoring my father’s work alongside a person responsible for human rights violations is an insult to his beliefs and what he stands for. I have included at the bottom of my letter a list of violations that Shimon Peres is responsible for as well as a list of past appeals made against him.
Without any disrespect intended to your esteemed organization, and the important work you do around the world, as a human rights defender I must respectfully withdraw from this event as I cannot allow myself to take part in legitimizing a person who should be tried for human rights violations, not honored. Please accept my apologies for the late withdrawal and any inconvenience it may cause.
1615 GMT: Turkey and Syria. Over the course of the recent tensions between the two countries, Turkey has fired into Syria 87 times, killing 12 Syrian soldiers, according to a report yesterday in a Turkish newspaper. The report, based on Turkish military sources, claims that "five Syrian tanks, three armoured vehicles, one mortar weapon, one ammunition vehicle and two anti-aircraft guns had also been destroyed". Twenty-seven shells or mortars have been fired into Turkey from Syria, with the Turkish miiltary responding every time.
Eighteen mortar shells fired from Syria had landed in the Akcakale district of Sanliurfa province, where five Turkish civilians were killed this month, while nine had landed in Hatay province further to the west, according to the report.
Turkey had fired 69 times from Hatay and 18 times from Akcakale, it said.
Earlier today, Turkish police reportedly dispersed an anti-war protest in Hatay.
"A delegation from the Istanbul Stock Exchange will visit Egypt in December...to discuss the means of joint trading between the Egyptian bourse and the Istanbul bourse," Mohamed Omran, the Egyptian exchange's chairman, told Reuters on Sunday.
Under the proposal, which follows a memorandum of understanding signed by the two exchanges in June, Turkish investors would be able to trade directly on the Egyptian bourse through Turkish brokerages and vice versa.
Egyptian investors stung last year by the uprising that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak have been trying to improve their access to overseas markets.
The New York Times recently reported on the wider political alliance emerging between the two countries.
1526 GMT: Bahrain. Opposition societies, including AlWefaq, have held a protest outside the United Nations office in the capital Manama:
1521 GMT: Syria. The death toll following the bomb in the Old City of Damascus this morning has reached 13, according to State media. SANA news agency reported that an "explosive device planted under a car in Bab Tuma exploded, killing 13 people and wounding 29".
1504 GMT: Bahrain. Video showing part of Zainab AlKhawaja's arrest earlier today:
AlKhawaja was arrested with fellow human rights defenders Said Yousif Almuhafda and Naji Fateel during their march to AlEker village, carrying symbolic supplies of food, water. and medicine (see 1227 GMT entry). Lawyer Mohamed Abdulameer has recently reported that AlKhawaja is being held at the Central Police Station.
Leaders in the opposition have called for a march today against the election and changes made to the law which they described as a "coup against the constitution".
1455 GMT: Lebanon. Journalist Gregg Carlstrom reports on the easing of tension in Beirut:
What was a clash about twenty minutes ago is now a couple hundred people chanting against [Prime Minister] Miqati and [Syrian President] Assad. twitter.com/glcarlstrom/st…— Gregg Carlstrom (@glcarlstrom) October 21, 2012
A number of rocket propelled grenades were tossed in the Talaat al-Omari area as well as in the area of Abu Ali River.
Rival groups in anti-Assad, Sunni-dominant neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh and their rivals in Alawite-majority neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen have clashed on several occasions this year, leaving scores of people dead and over 100 wounded.
1425 GMT: Syria. President Assad has told United Nations-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who is seeking a temporary cease-fire, that the key to any political solution is an end to the arming of insurgents.
State news agency SANA quoted Assad as saying that any proposal "must be centered around the principle of halting the terrorism and...commitment by the countries involved in supporting, arming and harboring the terrorists in Syria to stop these actions".
1410 GMT: Bahrain. The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and The Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) have issued a joint appeal for "medical supplies and food" for the village AlEker, said to be under siege since Friday. The statement follows the arrest of Said Yousif Almuhafda, Zainab AlKhawaja and Naji Fateel (see 1227 entry). According to the statement:
A gathering of more than 100 people outside the entrance of AlEker which included medics, members of political societies and activists was dispersed by excessive force using sonic bombs and teargas and another gathering of AlEker residents inside the village was also attacked with excessive use of tear gas.
A spokesperson for the government Information Affairs Agency earlier said of the events at AlEker: "There has been no attempt to stop people from going about their business, attending work or school, shopping for supplies or seeking medical treatment, as exaggerated reports on social media suggest."
Lebanese soldiers have fired machine guns and rifles into the air and lobbed volleys of tear gas at hundreds of angry protests who are trying to storm the Lebanese government headquarters in Beirut.
1348 GMT: Bahrain. Claimed footage of police pursuing protesters in Nuwaidrat:
1338 GMT: Lebanon. Clashes are being reported following the funeral of Wissam al-Hassan. The BBC reports that "protesters threw stones at the building, as police fired tear gas".
In the last few minutes, Associated Press reports that things might be getting even more serious:
BREAKING: Hundreds of angry protesters try to storm Lebanese government headquarters in Beirut.— The Associated Press (@AP) October 21, 2012
The March 14 Coalition yesterday called for a "day of rage", urging its supporters to attend the funeral.
Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) expresses its deep concern over the escalated measures and the crackdown to which the population of the village of “Al-Eker” is being subjected to over the last two days. This follows the news of a policeman’s death, for which the government is blaming the people.
Bahrain Center for Human Rights received numerous reports that the village of Al Eker is entirely blocked by security forces. The residents are not allowed to exit or enter and have not been permitted to go to work since Friday. Moreover, the movement of those in need of any emergency medical care is restricted or not permitted, despite the fact that there are a number of injured protestors. Food supplies have also been halted from entering the village of Al-Eker.
It is estimated that more than 35 houses were raided between nightfall and the morning of 19/20 Nov 2012 and some houses were raided more than once. The raids were carried out by riot police and special security forces, which were accompanied by men in civilian attire and armored vehicles. We have received complaints that men, women and children were terrorized, physically and verbally attacked and insulted by police forces during the raids.
1227 GMT: Bahrain. Three leading human rights defenders have been arrested after starting a march from Sitra to Al-Eker, bringing symbolic supplies of food and medicine to the village that has been under siege for three days (see Bahrain Feature: "Collective Punishment" on Al-Eker Village After Policeman Killed
Maryam AlKhawaja, acting President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, reports that they have been charged with "obstructing traffic", however she adds that they were apparently walking on the pavement when security forces stopped them. This video, taken before the arrest, certainly shows that they were not impeding traffic:
Said and Naji have been taken to Isa Town police station, however the whereabouts of Zainab AlKhawaja are unknown. Maryam adds:
1148 GMT: Lebanon. "Thousands" have gathered in Beirut for the funeral of senior intelligence officer Wissam al-Hassan, killed in a car bomb on Friday. The opposition March 14 Coalition yesterday called for a "day of rage", urging all of Lebanon to attend the funeral, raising expectations that the funeral will turn in to a political rally. Rumours are also flying, from various Lebanese sources that opposition leader Saad Hariri is returning from exile in Saudi Arabia to attend. Al-Hassan's will be buried next to the tomb of Saad's father, Rafik Hariri, the former Prime Minister assassinated in 2005.
The BBC's Jeremy Bowen reports from the scene:
1125 GMT: Syria. A bomb has exploded in the Bab Touma district of Damascus's Old City, said to be a predominantly Christian area. An official told AFP, "At least seven people were killed and many others wounded". The number of deaths may be higher as state television has reportedly said there have been 10 deaths.
Claimed pictures and footage of the aftermath:
Photo of explosion in Bab Touma, Damascus. Reports saying 10 deaths, so far. This is horrible. twitter.com/BintAlRifai/st…— BintAlRifai (@BintAlRifai) October 21, 2012
1108 GMT: Bahrain. Guilty verdicts were upheld against Mahdi Abu Deeb and Jalila al-Salman, President and Vice-President respectively of the Bahrain Teachers Association (see 0620 GMT entry). Mahdi had his sentence reduced to five years, Jalila to six months. Mahdi's daughter Maryam tweeted from court:
I went to baba after he quoted Quran, shouted god is the great .. He kept on raising the victory sign until he was handcuffed
5 guards stood in between, they didn't allow me to hug him. Am sure baba will be punished now for shouting in court
Mama's tears are heartbreaking .. 563 days were hard .. 5 years are a nightmare
0625 GMT: Bahrain. With the reported siege by security forces against the village Al-Eker moving into its third day, opposition societies and activists are expected to take a series of actions.
Opposition societies have announced plans to visit Al-Eker. A statement by Al-Wefaq, Waad, Wahdawy. Qawmy and Ekhaa says that "a team of the opposition along with human rights defenders, activists and medics will visit Al-Eker in the morning at 10am". They are also planning to stage a protest "outside the UN offices in Manama at 4 pm".
Last night, leading human rights defender Zainab AlKhawaja also announced that at 2pm today she will be marching from Sitra to Al-Eker with Said Yousif Almuhafda from the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.
0620 GMT: Bahrain. Appeal verdicts are expected in the case of Mahdi Abu Deeb and Jalila al-Salman, President and Vice-President respectively of the Bahrain Teachers Association. Amnesty International has been campaigning for their release and summarises their case:
Jalila and Mahdi were arrested in March and April 2011 after calling for a teachers' strike to support the protesters calls for reform. They report being subjected to torture and ill-treatment in detention. In September 2011, a military court sentenced Jalila al-Salman to 3 years in prison, and Mahdi 'Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb to 10 years. Jalila was conditionally released pending her appeal hearing, but Mahdi remains in prison, despite appeals from his attorney for release because of his deteriorating health.
At their 2 April hearing, Mahdi testified that he was tortured when first detained, inside the ambulance when being taken to hospital for treatment of injuries resulting from that intial torture, and also at Gurein prison during the several weeks he spent in solitary cofinement. The forensic team to which the court previously referred Mahdi for medical examination has not been appointed.
0530 GMT: Lebanon and Syria. The politics, protests, and tension continue in Lebanon after Friday's car bombing that killed at least three people, including top security official Wissam al-Hassan.
Demonstrators filled Beirut's Martyrs Square on Saturday, and the March 14 coalition has encouraged a massive turnout for al-Hassan's funeral as a "day of rage" against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Saad al-Hariri, former Prime Minister and leader of the coalition, said, "Every one of you is personally invited tomorrow to Martyrs' Square to the prayers for Wissam al-Hassan. All of Lebanon, which Wissam al-Hassan protected from the plots of Bashar al-Assad and [Syrian General] Ali Mamlouk...exposing himself so that you would not be blown up."
Meanwhile, in Syria, the Local Coordination Committee claimed the deaths of 123 people at the hands of security forces, including 67 in Damascus and its suburbs.
The activists claimed 70 incidents where "the regime’s army indiscriminately shelled civilians", including eight with warplanes and five with TNT barrel bombs. They reported 14 clashes between the Free Syrian Army and regime forces.