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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Deaths from the Air

Bahraini police arrest Said Yousuf Almuhafda of the Bahrain Center of Human Rights on Friday

2125 GMT: Egypt. About 1000 activists rallied in Cairo on Saturday demanding an end to brutality in Egyptian prisons and calling for a ban on torture in the new Constitution.

Aida Seif al-Dawla, of the El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, told the crowd near the Ministry of Interior that the group has documented 150 cases of torture in the 100 days since President Mohamed Morsi took office in June.

"Oh martyrs rest in peace, the struggle continues," chanted the demonstrators, who hung posters showing the disfigured faces and bodies of torture victims.

The protest commemorated the death of Essam Atta, a young Egyptian whose family said he was tortured to death by authorities in October last year while held in Torah prison south of Cairo.

2055 GMT: Syria. Residents of Homs berate visiting officials of the Red Cross, "You came to watch us? you came without supplies, without doctors":

1855 GMT: Bahrain. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights has released a statement on Friday's arrest of its Acting Vice President Said Yousif AlMuhafda:

Arriving in Duraz after a protest had already been attacked using excessive force to document an injury, Said Yousif AlMuhafda was arrested by security forces (video while he was getting the details of how a man was injured with shotgun at his door front while he was not part of the protests.

Said Yousif was interrogated at the police station about what he was doing outside the injured man's house. He was then led to believe by a police officer that he would be released within a few hours, but when colleague Zainab AlKhawaja went to pick him up from Budaiya Police Station she was told by an officer: “Why have you come for him? I haven’t decided what I want to do to him yet."

Lawyer Mohammed Abdul Ameer then stated that AlMuhafdha was to be held overnight and taken to the Public Prosecution today, 3rd November. The Public Prosecution, after making AlMuhafdhah wait for approximately 5 hours, decided to extend his detention to 7 days under investigation on the charge of illegal protesting in Duraz.

The arrest of the Acting Vice President of the BCHR comes 3 days only after the Center released a report holding the King of Bahrain responsible for the culture of impunity in the country.

1835 GMT: Syria. Gathering for Sunday's conference in Qatar to name a new opposition leadership, supplanting the Syrian National Council, participants have given some details of the preparations.

The sources said dissident Riad Seif, touted as the potential head of "the Syrian National Initiative", and about two dozen opposition figures gathered in Jordan's capital Amman this week to discuss the plan. Among those in attendance were SNC members; former Prime Minister Riad Hijab, who defected in August; Ali Sadreddin Bayanuni of the Muslim Brotherhood; and Kurdish and tribal representatives.

The participants said, "Assad and his entourage leaving power is a non-negotiable precondition for any dialogue aimed at finding a non-military solution, if that is still possible."

1815 GMT: Syria. Back from a vacation break to find continuing reports of the insurgent assault against a major regime air force base in the northwest.

The Syrian Revolution General Commission said the operation had begun "to liberate the Taftanaz airbase", which deploys fighter jets and helicopter gunships.

Elsewhere, insurgents killed 21 soldiers and taken three positions in the Damascus suburb of Douma on Friday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The fighters supposedly took a police station, a municipal government building, and a hospital.

0735 GMT: Syria. Reports and videos continue to circulate about the insurgent attack on the regime airbase in Taftanaz in Idlib Province, as well as the Syrian military's response with shelling of the areas around the base.

The insurgents say five different units have attacked the airbase with rocket launchers, mortars, and other weaponry.

The significance? The airbase is the largest in the north, with capacity for about 48 helicopters. Seizure by the insurgents, or even significant damage, would be a major blow to the regime's ability to attack from the air.

Claimed footage of smoke rising from the airbase:

0705 GMT: Syria. On Friday, insurgents claimed a notable victory with regime forces abandoning their last base near the town of Saraqeb, raising the prospect that Aleppo will be cut off from Damascus.

Now the Free Syrian Army is reportedly attacking the airbase at nearby Taftanaz:

0605 GMT: Syria. While controversy and confusion continued on Friday over which insurgent group executed regime soldiers, an event captured on video, scores of Syrians were killed --- many by aerial assaults --- across the country.

The Local Coordination Committees reported that at least 182 people were slain, mainly in and near Damascus and in Aleppo Province. The activists said that scores had also died in attacks on Harem in Idlib Province in the northwest and that others perished in the eastern suburbs of Damascus.

One activist, Moaz al-Shami, offered the explanation that the regime was resorting to heavy aerial bombardments in the suburbs after failed attempts by ground troops to seize back territory: "The regime has tried to control the Eastern Ghouta several times and each times it had to withdraw because the rebels slipped away then came back to attack its forces. Now it is trying to annihilate it from the air."

The same analysis could be applied to the northwest, with many towns now in the hands of insurgents.

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