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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Hundreds Dead in Homs as Regime Strikes

Sounds of the overnight assault on Homs

See also Syria Snap Analysis: What the Massacre in Homs Means
Syria 1st-Hand Video: Inside Homs Before the Massacre
Syria Video Special: The Dead, Dying, and Injured in Homs
Friday's Egypt, Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Triple Feature of Protest

2140 GMT: Bahrainis have met in the forum of the "Bahrain Debate" to try and find a political accommodation.

Eyad Ebrahim, one of the organiser, said, Everybody is worried. We don't want to see violence on the streets, from police or civilians. We want people to be able to talk freely and express their opinions. We need to move beyond this social tension because even if we have a political problem, there is no need for the community to disintegrate."

"A fundamental solution to the political problem is needed to end the vicious circle," said Omar Al Shehabi, who heads the Gulf Centre for Policy Studies, citing unrest going back decades. "I don't know any home or family that has not been affected or had someone imprisoned. All parts of the population need to have a role in writing the constitution. The constitution of 2002 was written behind closed doors."

2116 GMT: Claimed footage of the regime troops captured by the Free Syrian Army in the Khalidiya and Bayada sections of Homs:

2115 GMT: Bahraini police patrol Aldair village and fire tear gas:

2110 GMT: As the United Nations Security Council failed to endorse its plan for a political resolution (see 1700 GMT), the Arab League renewed its call for Syria to end its crackdown, expressing "its utmost disapproval at the continued and increasing violence and fighting in Syria", with the overnight assault on Homs as "the most violent" incident.

The League called on the Syrian regime "to stop the use of force against protesters and stop the killing" and urged Damascus "to stop pursuing a security-driven solution which has proved unsuccessful".

2051 GMT: Bahraini authorities blocked two live-streaming sites today, hours after they began broadcasting opposition rallies.

1809 GMT: One fact which has circulated in the wake of the Russian and Chinese vetoes of the Security Council resolution for action in Syria --- of $8.2 billion in arms to Damascus in recent years, 98% came from Beijing and Moscow.

1800 GMT: The opposition Local Coordinating Committees of Syria says 91 people have died today --- 61 in Homs, 10 in Idlib, and 19 in the Damascus suburbs (16 in Darraya, 2 in Dumair and 1 in Moadamiya).

The LCCS also reports, "Violent shelling from all directions at Zabadani and Madaya with support of military choppers which are being used for the first time in Zabadani." It says fires have started in both towns, with smoke rising from homes. It also claims tanks are shelling the area with nail-bombs and regime reinforcements are arriving.

1700 GMT: Russia and China have vetoed the United Nations Security Council resolution for action over the Syrian crisis. The vetoes prevent implementation of the measure, which passed 13-2.

The resolution, following the Arab League's plan and supported by the US, France, and Britain amongst other countries, demanded that President Assad hand over power to a deputy in preparation for a transitional government. India and South Africa also voted Yes on the resolution.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had said that the resolution made too few demands of insurgents and that Moscow was concerned whether it prejudged the outcome of a national dialogue among political forces in Syria.

1604 GMT: Reports are coming in that protesters have taken over the Syrian Embassy in Libya.

1553 GMT: Clashes continue in the Egyptian capital Cairo. Al Jazeera English's Sherine Tadros reports, "Police pushing forward and firing tear gas at the protesters." She later tweets, "We just got seriously tear gassed. Ouch."

1545 GMT: President Obama has released a statement calling on President Assad to give up power:

I strongly condemn the Syrian government’s unspeakable assault against the people of Homs and I offer my deepest sympathy to those who have lost loved ones. Assad must halt his campaign of killing and crimes against his own people now. He must step aside and allow a democratic transition to proceed immediately....

The Syrian regime’s policy of maintaining power by terrorizing its people only indicates its inherent weakness and inevitable collapse. Assad has no right to lead Syria, and has lost all legitimacy with his people and the international community.

1535 GMT: An anti-regime demonstration on Baghdad Street in the Syrian capital Damascus today:

1515 GMT: Bahrain's Minister of Interior, Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, has said that the targeting of members of foreign communities and migrant workers is unacceptable.

Al Khalifa cited an attack on a British man on Friday: "We hope that these criminals will have a fast trial so that they are an example to others who are thinking of committing similar crimes."

The Minister called on members of society, including activists and political societies, to condemn the acts.

Another video of yesterday's mass protest by the opposition in Bahrain:

1500 GMT: The head of the Arab League's Parliament, Ali Salem al-Diqbassi, has called on League countries to cut diplomatic and economic ties with the Syrian regime, which "continues to carry out the most extreme acts of killing and oppression".

Al-Diqbassi's statement was issued as Tunisia expelled the Syrian ambassador (see 1344 GMT). a A photo of the Embassy, daubed in graffiti, after the ambassador's departure:

1355 GMT: The BBC's Paul Wood, travelling with insurgents of the Free Syrian Army near Homs, reports, "The rebels now say that they're going to launch a general offensive some time in the next 24 hours in response to the attack."

Al-Arabiya reported earlier that the Free Syrian Army had targeted a building in Homs managed by Syrian Air Force Intelligence and had surrounded a State Security centre in Zabadani.

1352 GMT: An account from a resident of the Khalidiya section of Homs in Syria:

We were sitting inside our house when we started hearing the shelling. We felt shells were falling on our heads. The morning has come and we have discovered more bodies, bodies are on the streets. Some are still under the rubble our movement is better but there is little we can do without ambulances and other things.

An activist said, "We are not getting any help, there are no ambulances or anything. We are removing the people with our own hands." He added that there were only two field hospitals treating the wounded, each with a capacity to handle 30 people; he added the estimate of a total of 500 injured.

The activist continued, "We have dug out at least 100 bodies so far, they are placed in the two mosques."

1344 GMT: Tunisia has decided, possibly in preparation for withdrawing recognition of the Assad regime, to expel the Syrian ambassador.

The Tunisian Foreign Minister said the decision will be implemented "in the near future by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs".

1337 GMT: Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in a statement on its Facebook page, has responded to this week's violence and clashes by calling on all Egyptians to stand united against strife: "Some people within the country and from abroad are escalating things to target the country’s properties and achievements."

The SCAF said it supported people’s right to demonstrate in a peaceful manner, but it called on all people to stay alert and for political groups to exert all efforts to end the ongoing strife to achieve stability.

At least 86 people have died since Wednesday in fighting at a Port Said football match and in subsequent protests in Suez and Cairo.

1332 GMT: Reuters updates on the protests outside Syrian embassies after the killing of hundreds of people in Homs by regime forces:

Syrian demonstrators ransacked their country's embassy in Cairo and broke into the missions in London and Kuwait, part of protests around the world against the worst bloodshed of the 11 month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

The Cairo crowd smashed furniture and equipment and set fire to parts of the embassy building overnight.

In London, about 150 people hurled stones at the Syrian embassy, smashing windows and shouting slogans. Five men were arrested after breaking into the building and another was held for assaulting police, London police said.

Syrian residents in Kuwait broke into the embassy there at dawn on Saturday, tearing down the flag and injuring several security guards, state news agency KUNA reported.

Rallies also broke out outside Syrian embassies in Germany, the United States and Greece after human rights activists reported more than 200 people were killed in shelling by government forces in the city of Homs.

EA's Josh Shahryar has put together a list of the protests, with links to videos, in 16 locations.

1139 GMT: Claimed footage of Syrian security forces firing on a funeral procession in Darraya:

The procession for one of the dead:

1134 GMT: Armed clashes between supporters and opponents of Yemen's Presidential election wounded more than 30 people in Aden on Friday night.

The violence erupted late Friday when supporters of the separatist Southern Movement reportedly attacked a march organised by rivals in the protest movement against President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

1044 GMT: The Kuwait Times offers a useful summary of the outcome of this week's Parliamentary vote, in which the opposition took 34 of 50 seats.

1026 GMT: In Bahrain, youths in Buquwa have set a police jeep on fire.

1016 GMT: The Egyptian Minister of Health says the death toll is now 12 in Thursday's clashes, amidst protests over the 74 killed in violence at a Port Said football match.

Five protesters were killed in Cairo, and seven in Suez.

0748 GMT: This is the claim from Syria's State news agency SANA that activists and foreign media are lying about the deaths of hundreds of people in Homs:

Some satellite channels earlier Saturday aired footage for a group of corpses with hands in chains claiming them to be killed by Army bombardment, while they in fact are the corpses of the innocent citizens kidnapped, tortured and slaughtered by the armed terrorist groups.

The corpses, in fetters, bear signs of torture and organized killing with no signs of artillery or mortar shells. Some Syrian citizens made calls to the Syrian TV asserting that they have seen in the footage of the corpses aired by Satellites of lies some of their relatives who were kidnapped earlier by armed terrorist groups.

Tens of innocent civilians were kidnapped by armed terrorist groups in different places inside Syria; many of them were tortured, raped and killed at the hands of the terrorists, supported by some countries like Qatar, Turkey, France and many others.

However, the TV satellites of lies and fabrications did not highlight the fact that had the killed were hit by mortars, as they claim, their bodies would have been turned into tiny pieces.

0728 GMT: Israeli forces fire on protesters in Nabi Saleh in Palestine's West Bank. Thirteen people were reportedly wounded in demonstrations on Friday:

0720 GMT: A mass vigil in Jarjanaz in northwest Syria for the dead in Homs:

0700 GMT: Al Arabiya is claiming, without citing a source, that 337 people have been killed and 1,300 others injured in Homs. It also says the hospital in Khalidiya has been destroyed.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that at least 217 people are dead.

0610 GMT: Hundreds of people have been killed in an overnight assault by regime forces on Homs, Syria's third-largest city. 

According to activists, 217 people have been slain, 138 of them in the Khalidiya neighbourhood.

The army used tanks, mortars and machine guns in the Khalidiya offensive. Regime troops are also said to targeting the neighbourhoods of Bab Tadmour, Bab Dreib, and Karm el-Shami.

The 12-hour attack, which ended about 8 a.m., reportedly began after the opposition Free Syrian Army attacked regime checkpoints, killing 14 soldiers and capturing 19. Five insurgents also died in the clashes.

Several buildings have been destroyed. The main public hospital is completely overwhelmed and people have set up makeshift clinics in mosques. Blood supplies are low.

The State news agency SANA blamed "armed terrorist groups" for the violence and said media reports of the offensive were "distortion [and] falsification".

Angry protesters have gathered in front of Syria's embassies around the world. They stormed Syrian embassies in Egypt, Greece, and Kuwait and staged demonstrations outside the embassies in the United Kingdom and the United States in protest against the violence. Stones were thrown at the building at the demonstration in London.

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