A demonstration in the Khamidiya section of Hama in Syria on Monday night
1936 GMT: A prominent activist Facebook Page reports that 106 people have been killed today in Syria, most of whom were killed in Idlib province. There are unconfirmed reports that the city of Idlib has fallen to Assad military forces today. We'd note that the city has been nearly impossible to get any information out of for the last 24 hours or so.
The Local Coordinating Committees of Syria have not released numbers for several hours, but at their last tally, they had confirmed 49 deaths.
1923 GMT: Another senior member of the Syrian National Council has resigned, citing lack of progress. Haitham al-Maleh has hinted that he may not be the last one to step down, either:
I have resigned from the SNC because there is a lot of chaos in the group and not a lot of clarity over what they can accomplish right now. We have not gotten very far in working to arm the rebels.
"I have resigned from the SNC because there is a lot of chaos in the group and not a lot of clarity over what they can accomplish right now. We have not gotten very far in working to arm the rebels."
1854 GMT: For weeks the world focused on Homs, and we often reminded our readers that the rest of Syria was also seeing death and destruction. Now, the focus is on Idlib, and the media may need a gentle reminder to not forget Homs.
The video was reportedly taken today in Bab al Dreib, another area in the center of Homs that has been under siege since shortly after the fall of Baba Amr:
1843 GMT: At least 5 people have been killed in Hama, and multiple neighborhoods have been attacked by Syrian military. There are reports that several central districts have been shelled, in the second day of fierce fighting in a row.
Interestingly, it appears that most of the fighting between the Free Syrian Army and the Assad military has occurred at night.
1649 GMT: The area of Houle, west of Homs, has been hard hit in recent days. The Syrian regime seems to be targeting the areas around Homs, perhaps ensuring that the paths between Homs and the border with Lebanon are cut off. Today, however, we are mortified by this EXTREMELY GRAPHIC VIDEO of a dead child in Talkalakh, Homs. In Homs, strategic and political maneuvering costs a real, flesh and blood price.
1455 GMT: According to multiple sources, the Free Syrian Army has captured a military checkpoint in the Idlib city of Khan Sheikhoun. This is the video that has just been released, showing insurgent fighters capturing some of the weapons and equipment, including two armored personnel carriers:
1400 GMT: Once again, there are large protests on the campus of Aleppo University. This video was forwarded to us, showing the students spilling out into the streets:
The LCCS is also reporting protests, and has posted this video:
1346 GMT: There has been another "massacre" in Idlib province, in the embattled town of Ma'arrat al Nouman. According to an activist network, 7 people have been killed. Looking at the extremely graphic video, it appears that these men were killed in horrible ways, as some of their faces are extremely disfigured:
1330 GMT: Earlier (1205 GMT), Scott Lucas posted video reportedly showing a captured armored vehicle in Idlib. Now, a prominent activist associated with Al-Ayyam English, Shakeeb Al-Jabri, has contacted members of the Local Coordinating Committees of Syria, a network of activists working to spread and verify information from inside the cities and towns.
BREAKING Jabal Zawiya LC: FSA soldiers have destroyed two armored vehicles and killed 12 Assad soldiers during clashes. #Syria— Shakeeb Al-Jabri (@LeShaque) March 13, 2012
Jabal Zawiya LC: The Assad army has not made any progress into the city but they are pushing very hard. #Syria— Shakeeb Al-Jabri (@LeShaque) March 13, 2012
1313 GMT: Syrian state TV, SANA, has announced that parliamentary elections have been scheduled for May 7th.
The vote forms part of a raft of reforms announced by Assad in a bid to calm a year-long uprising against his regime that began with democracy protests.
1306 GMT: The hacker group "Anonymous" has announced a campaign against the Bahraini government. In the past, Anonymous focused on the governments of Iran, Syria, and other repressive regimes, sometimes attacking government websites.
This declaration, however, is slightly different. Beyond the typical statements about the government, the message focused on Qorvis, and other western PR firms that have supported the regime. Qorvis is perhaps an obvious target, as it is an open fact that the Bahraini government has hired that firm to represent its needs to western governments, mainly the US and UK. However, the allegations against other unnamed PR firms is intriguing. It will be interesting to see what companies, if any, Anonymous targets:
James Miller takes over today's live coverage. Thank you, Scott Lucas, for getting us started this morning.
1205 GMT: A boy cries as security forces detain his father in the Damascus suburb of Douma:
Claimed footage of a tank seized by insurgents today in Idlib Province in northwest Syria:
1154 GMT: James Bays of Al Jazeera English reports on the statement of Burhan Ghalioun, the head of the Syrian National Council, after members of the opposition met United Nations envoy Kofi Annan in Ankara today.
Ghalioun said, "If they don't stop killing the people, we are going to have to arm everyone in the opposition" before clarifying with "if all else fails" and "diplomatic solution is my preference". He also claimed certain countries in the region, which he declined to name, "have promised to give arms".
Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Ankara plans to host the second meeting of the "Friends of Syria" group on 2 April to discuss pressure on President Assad to halt the regime crackdown.
More than 50 countries were represented at the first meeting of foreign ministers from the group in Tunis in late February.
0956 GMT: Bahraini police fire tear gas on a Monday night march in Ma'ameer. Even after protesters moved back from the main road, security forces pursued, leaving the village blanketed in gas:
The official said the cease-fire, to take effect at 1 a.m. local time on Tuesday, included an undertaking by Israel to "stop assassinations".
The Israel Defense Forces said that Israel carried out no airstrikes after 1 a.m. Tuesday. It claimed three rockets were fired at southern Israel, causing no casualties.
0836 GMT: Human Righs Watch claims, from witnesses and mine removal specialists, that Syrian forces have placed landmines near the borders with Lebanon and Turkey. Witnesses said the mines had already caused civilian casualties.
An activist said the violence began after police used tear gas and live bullets to stop youths, who were attacking shops for refusing to close for the funeral of a fellow separatist.
0825 GMT: In a symbolic vote on Monday, the Egyptian Parliament unanimously supported the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and a halt to gas exports to Israel.
The vote was taken by a show of hands on a report by the Arab Affairs Committee, which declared Egypt will “never" be a friend, partner or ally of Israel. The Committee said West Jeruslam was the “number one enemy’’ and endorsed whatPalestinian resistance “in all its kinds and forms" against Israel’s “aggressive policies".
0555 GMT: Monday's news from Syria was dominated by the attempt to comprehend a "massacre" in the Karm al Zaytoun section of Homs, with many woman and children among the 45 bodies. Meanwhile, 44 people died across the country on Monday, 19 of them in Homs and 17 in Idlib.
Beyond the graphic images and the numbers, the story appeared to be of a regime effort to crush the opposition after a year of uprising. Having suppressed Homs, with the month-long siege of the Baba Amr neighbourhood, President Assad's military appears to be moving on remaining insurgent positions, especially in the northwest of the country. As EA's James Miller summarised yesterday, "Homs is a fairly isolated city, but now there are widespread reports of military campaigns across the entire country, in and around the suburbs and centers of nearly every city."
But will that drive succeed? In the same entry, Miller offered evidence of continuing resistance to the regime, and Ali Yenidunya, in our Turkey live coverage, posted this note last night:
George Sabra, a spokesman for the opposition Syrian National Council, told a news conference in Istanbul said that they had already decided to arm the Free Syrian Army and added that some foreign governments were helping to send weapons.
However, despite of these, Sabra called on Arab and Western governments to intervene militarily and to protect civilians through imposing a no-fly zone across all of Syria and establishing secured humanitarian corridors. Sabra continued: "The Syrian National Council has taken concrete and practical decisions to arm Free Syrian Army that is established to protect the civilians. And we invite all colonels and other military officials in the Syrian army to take sides with the people of Syria."