Syrian activist "Danny" speaks to Anderson Cooper about the crisis in Syria.
See Also Syria Opinion: "There Are Many Others Who Await Homs' Fate" br>
Syria Video Special: Interview of Paul Conroy, Survivor of Baba Amr br>
Thursday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Battle of Baba Amr
"On the ground, the miltiray operations have [slowed] by reducing shelling and explosions in the area of Baba Amr.
"But most of the problem is that more than 4000 civilians are still inside the district of Baba Amr, and there is a big fear that revenge operation may happen by regime forces after they have controlled the area and the Free Syrian Army has withdrawn."
Unfortunately, Sami's internet connection is unreliable, and he has been cut off several times.
2038 GMT: Human Rights Watch has analyzed satellite photos of Homs and has concluded that there are 950 visible impact craters and at least 640 damaged or destroyed buildings in the Baba Amr district alone. Also, the photographs were taken on February 25th, before much of the damage was even done (click for larger image).
2019 GMT: NPR's Ahmed al Omran shares this quote from Ban Ki Moon on the floor of the UN General Assembly:
Here is the live stream of the event. The representative from Syria is about to speak:
View Syria - 2012 March 2 - EA Worldview in a larger map
1927 GMT: Here come the reprisals - a prominent network of activists reports that police and security have raided the Fardos neighborhood of Aleppo, where EA reported large demonstrations took place earlier today.
1916 GMT: We have posted a separate video feature, an interview with the British photographer Paul Conroy who was injured in the same attack that killed American journalist Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik last week Baba Amr, Homs.
1854 GMT: This video was reportedly taken in the Fardous district of Aleppo, not too far from where security opened fire on protesters earlier today. The protesters unfurl a very long flag, a sign that the opposition in Aleppo is growing, despite the heavy security in the streets:
The LCCS is now reporting that 75 have been killed today, including 8 people in Aleppo where violence has been escalating in recent days.
1839 GMT: About an hour ago the Local Coordinating Committees of Syria report that at least 65 people have been killed so far in Syria, "including children and 2 women woman, 14 martyrs were executed in the field in Baba Amr, 16 martyrs from Rastan, 33 martyrs in Homs, 11 martyrs from Idlib including two martyrs in Saraqeb, 8 martyrs from Aleppo,9 martyrs in Deir Ezzor, 2 martyrs in Douma and a martyr each in Hama and Lattakia."
However, this number appears to already be obsolete, as the LCCS is now reporting that at least 9 people were killed in military shelling in Hama alone, an area where there is still a heavy military presence.
1711 GMT: Earlier we posted video of soldiers opening fire on a crowd of protesters in the Sekkari neighborhood of Aleppo. Now, we find this video, which appears to show a second set of protesters respond by throwing what appears to be a Molotov cocktail at the soldiers, one of whom responds by firing back (we're not sure which video happened first, but based on the position of the soldiers in the street we believe this video took place after the soldiers had already fired on the crowd on the opposite end of the street).
1659 GMT: Amid talks of foreign intervention and the possibilities (or already present realities) of outside groups arming the opposition in Syria, the Syrian government, releasing a statement through SANA, has reiterated that it believes foreign influences have been arming "terrorists" for months:
In two identical letters sent to Chairman of the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary-general, the Foreign Ministry said ''Those who have been arming these groups have denied this over the past months…The use of arms by these groups has resulted in deaths and injuries among the law-enforcement members and the army, as well as destroying scores of public and private facilities, not to mention vandalizing oil and gas pipelines and railways."
The Foreign Ministry went on to say ''The Syrian authorities were obliged to take the necessary measures to protect innocent civilians and preserve the stature of the state. Upon doing just that, unjustifiable campaigns were launched by Western and Arab powers linked to these groups in a way that exposed their financial and political support to their terrorist acts, and strived to tarnish the image of Syria and mobilize the world public opinion against it through convening endless meetings at the Arab League, the Human Rights Council, the UN General Assembly and Security Council.''
The Foreign Ministry clarified that when the AL monitoring mission validated the existence of these armed groups and their non-abidance by the Arab work plan, the Arab League withdrew the monitors with the aim to hide the truth and evade the AL decisions.
''The fact that no formal copy of this report was submitted to the UN Security Council until now proves the AL disavowal of its decisions and credibility,'' said the Syrian Foreign Ministry, adding that Syria was not surprised at the statements of the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar during and following what the Syrian people dubbed ''Enemies of Syria'' meeting.
It appears, based on the man's dress and his surroundings, that this is the same man.
1626 GMT: Activist Rami al Jarrah shares these disturbing videos from Al Rastan:
1623 GMT: This video reports to show what appears to be perhaps several hundred people protesting in Aleppo today:
1615 GMT: More dramatic footage from Douma, via the activist network CFDPC - this person is lying on the ground, reportedly shot. Others, nearby, cannot reach the injured person, as gunshots ring out:
1559 GMT: An EA correspondent in Bahrain reports on today's events:
Beside the protests in the villages today, the opposition parties (Alwefaq, Waad, AlWehdawi,...) have called for an open sit-in Amugshah. It will start today from 7 pm to midnight and tomorrow from 3pm to midnight as well.
He also shares several videos:
This is another protests in Buri village, where people are holding a banner written on it "Freedom to Abdulhadi Alkhwaja."
(Last night) - Saddad village - After a small protests that moved inside the village roads, police cracked down and started shooting teargas at houses even though protesters cleared the scene.
Video of a Protester from Karanah who got shoot with shotgun by police forces [graphic]
1545 GMT: An important video from Aleppo. We showed this video to an activist, Zilal, who said that this video was taken in the Sekkari neighborhood. It shows a crowd of protesters that were fired upon by security forces. It appears as though at least one injured person was evacuated.
The LCCS report that 56 have been killed nationwide, "14 martyrs were executed in the field in Baba Amr, 16 martyrs from Rastan. 32 martyrs in Homs, 11 martyrs from Idlib including two martyrs in Saraqeb, 4 martyrs from Aleppo, 5 martyrs in Deir Ezzor, 2 martyrs in Douma and a martyr each in Hama and Lattakia."
Most of the people today have joined Friday demonstrations. Half an hour ago, the shooting and bombing renewed. Three residential compounds were destroyed by mortars and rockets.
We have members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) here but they have a small amount of ammunition and they are trying to use every single bullet against the right target. The FSA are trying to protect civilians whenever the Syrian regime raids the houses.
At midday today, 13-year-old Samer was shot in head by a sniper while he was trying to cross the road. We ran to help him but the snipers were shooting against us, so that we could not do anything.
A massacre happened today in Baba Amr district. The Syrian army was searching the houses and called upon people to leave the house. The Wadhouh family, which consists of eight people, refused to leave the house. The Syrian army put them in one room and slaughtered them by knife.
The Syrian army are arresting any man they find in their way, starting from young men who are 14 years old.
Many of these details match reports that EA has received. The last note, about the Syrian army arresting any men over a young age, was also widely reported yesterday, however this is not possible for us to verify at the moment.
1512 GMT: The Syrian activist group CFDPC has been tracking protests today in Damascus. So far, they have posted footage from protests in the Al Tadamon, Babeela, and Hajar al Aswad districts, as well as yesterday's protest in the Yarmouk Camp (video below, for videos from the other districts click their names). Many of these areas in southern Damascus are home to Palestinian refugees, and the Yarmouk camp was reportedly raided yesterday, resulting in the death of an officer from the Palestinian Liberation Army (see a map of the area):
The bodies they could pick up are 13, many are still here and there could't be collected due to the continous shelling, ever wondered what a shell can do falling on a protest ? here is an example. (Warning Graphic).
1455 GMT: This video reportedly shows regime forces firing on a crowd, somewhere near Deir Ez Zor. It matches reports that EA received earlier that a funeral procession was fired on by security forces.
1449 GMT: The BBC is reporting that the Red Cross convoy trying to reach Baba Amr, Homs, has been stopped by Assad forces:
1437 GMT: Bahrain - According to prominent activist Maryam alKhawaja, another person has been "martyred" in Bahrain:
"... including a child and 2 women woman, 14 martyrs were executed in the field in Baba Amr, 16 martyrs from Rastan, 30 martyrs in Homs, 11 martyrs from Idlib including two martyrs in Saraqeb, 4 martyrs from Aleppo, 4 martyrs in Deir Ezzor and a martyr each in both of Hama and Lattakia."
1414 GMT: We are inundated with news coming out of Syria right now, but it's important to keep today's narrative in focus. The violence in Syria is increasing, but peaceful protests in many places is on the rise. On any given Friday there are fluctuation in the size of the protests, but we've seen large and impressive protests in defiance of the regime's use of violence. As horrible as the video is from Al Rastan, for instance, the piece that shouldn't be lost is that hundreds of people attended that protest - and they knew the risks.
Another thing of note - the theme of the day, characterized by many signs and many chants - "The people want the arming of the Free Syrian Army."
This truly massive crowd is reportedly in Idlib city.
Another massive demonstration in Sarmin, Idlib province:
There are even large protests across Homs. We've seen many neighborhoods protesting, but this video was reportedly taken today in the Khalidiya district:
1404 GMT: The Local Coordinating Committees of Syria, a network of activists, posts a graphic video which reports to show the Midani hospital in Al Rastan, Homs, "overrun" with those injured and killed in the mortar attack posted two videos below this update.
We don't know yet how many were killed or injured, but a bloody child is prominently visible in the video.
1348 GMT: EA has received a terrible, disturbing video. This was reportedly taken today in Al Rastan, north of Homs. A jubilant crowd chants protest slogans, and children can be seen in the front of the protest...
And then something happens - it appears as though a shell hit the roof of the building where the protests were occurring. As the crowd runs out, there are several people injured, and the gore left behind is frightening.
Al Rastan has been bombarded like this for weeks. The people still protest.
1335 GMT: There are already torrents of impressive videos of protests from across Syria. This large crowd is reportedly in Ma'arat an Nouman, in Idlib province, an area which has a strong presence of Free Syrian Army soldiers. The sign carries today's date:
This crowd is in Morek, in the countryside near Hama:
An activist group with strong contacts in Damascus posts this video, reportedly taken in Douma, an important suburb of the Syrian capital. However, EA is tracking reports of violence in the area which we believe followed this morning's protests:
These are, literally, just three videos out of dozens that are sitting in our inbox already this morning. Another Friday of protests does not disappoint in either scale or reach, despite the violence.
James Miller takes over today's live coverage, with a thank you to Scott Lucas for taking us through the morning.
The leader of the Houthi movement, which has often clashed with Yemen's military since 2004, said the bombing took place in Saada Province, on Yemen's northwestern border with Saudi Arabia.
1240 GMT: Amidst the news of this week, an expression of defiance in Homs:
Kobani in Aleppo Province:
President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced that France is closing its embassy in Syria. He ruled out foreign intervention without a UN Security Council resolution.
A mass rally in Qamishli in northeast Syria today:
1110 GMT: A demonstration in Binnish in northwest Syria:
The al-Asali section of Damascus today:
1030 GMT: The Bahraini opposition reports plans for a mass rally, one of the largest since the start of last year's protests, on 9 March. Sheikh Isa Qassim, the leader of the Shi'a religious community, has said he will participate.
Two United States-financed nonprofit groups paid about $4 million in bail on Thursday to fly 11 employees out of reach of Egyptian courts in a deal that capped weeks of bruising diplomatic wrangling and set off a new outpouring of anti-American denunciations here.
In the final days, American diplomats were forced to rely on the support of their former foe, the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as implicit threats to hold up International Monetary Fund aid that Egypt desperately needs to avoid an imminent economic collapse. The United States had already explicitly threatened to end its own $1.5 billion in annual aid. And even as a chartered plane waited through the day at the Cairo airport on Thursday, its takeoff had remained in doubt amid a growing backlash against the perceived American interference in the Egyptian justice system.
0945 GMT: Martin Chulov of The Guardian posts a vivid account of the attempt to get four injured foreign journalists, two of them injured in an attack on a media centre, out of besieged Homs in Syria.
Paul Conroy of The Sunday Times was escorted to Lebanon, but French journalists Edith Bouvier and William Daniels and Spanish reporter Javier Espinosa had to turn back. Several Free Syrian Army members were reportedly killed in the firefight with regime troops.
Bouvier, Daniels, and Espinosa made it out of Syria later in the week --- on CNN, Espinosa denies Syrian State TV reports that he died in Homs:
0915 GMT: The United Nations' office for human rights has accused the Bahraini regime of restricting groups trying to monitor reforms, after the kingdom asked the UN investigator into torture to postpone a trip.
The UN office in Geneva said Bahrain formally requested a delay of the trip by the Special Rapporteur on torture, scheduled for 8-17 March, until July.
0900 GMT: An EA correspondent describes an incident in Aldair in Bahrain on Thursday, "Police tried to break into a house to arrest some activists. News spread fast that others came out and tried to force the officers out of the village. After heavy clashes, mixed with tear gas and Molotov cocktails, the activists forced the police to leave. No arrests were made".
A protest in Sanabis on Thursday night, calling for the release of prominent political prisoner Abdulhadi Alkhawaja:
0641 GMT: Yesterday, we posted links to two videos which appeared to show an opposition doctor burying Western journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik who were killed in Baba Amr last week. As the doctor blessed their bodies and prayed for their souls, he also explained that the power was cut, and he could no longer store the bodies in the fridge that they were put in.
Syrian State TV, SANA, is now reporting that authorities discovered the bodies and have unearthed them, shipping them to Damascus for DNA identification before turning them over to the Polish embassy.
An official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates declared , just after the Syrian Army cleansed Baba Amro from the foreign-backed armed groups of terrorists, that 3 previous bids by the Syrian Red Crescent in coordination with the International Red Cross failed to take these corpses out because the armed terrorist groups rejected to do so as to manipulate them along with the forces of provocations against Syria.
That's not the narrative the opposition is giving, and the Red Cross, for its part, is trying to stay out of the politics of the crisis in order that it may be permitted to help.
The SANA story ended with condolences, and what sounds a lot like a warning to foreign journalists to stay away:
"Syria offers condolences to the families of the three journalists, Syria, however, voices the hope that all foreigners would evade entering to the Syrian Territories in an illegal way and to evade going to the places where the terrorist armed groups are present,'' concluded the source.
Also, as we noted yesterday, western journalists Edith Bouvier and William Daniels are reportedly safe in Lebanon.
0620 GMT: By the end of the day on Thursday, a leading activist network reported that 45 had been killed by security forces across Syria, 24 in Homs alone, 4 in Idlib province, 4 in the Damascus suburbs, 2 martyrs in Hama province, 2 in Deir Ez Zor, 1 in Lattakia and 1 in Daraa.
Beyond this, there is the inflammatory accusation that 7 people were killed in a military raid on Jabatha, in the Qunaitara region near the border with Israel. If true, this would be a clear violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 350 that established the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Zone, barring Syrian soldiers from operating within the region without permission from Israel.
According to the LCCS, in Trimseh, Hama province, more than 70 homes were destroyed, and at the close of the day there were still people trapped uner the rubble.
But despite widespread violence, the eyes of the world were set on Homs on Thursday, as the Syrian military stormed the Baba Amr district. Already today there are more reports of violence in Syria's third largest city, according to an opposition news network:
It is the fourth day in a row with no water in nearly the entire city, after being previously cut off a few areas. Food has become very difficult to obtain, especially bread, which has become very rare, and people of the city are using whatever remains of their stored food. Electricity is cut off most of the time all around Homs. For drinking water, people are melting snow and using rain water. Additionally, the medical situation continues to deteriorate and is catastrophic, and all kinds of medicine have run out from regular and field hospitals alike.
Today Ashira was on the top of the shelling list followed by Karm al-Zeitoun, Bayada and Khaldiyeh, while Jib al-Jandali and Bab Tadmur were besieged and under shelling from many directions and surrounded by tanks. Snipers also opened fire to prevent any movement in the streets.
Baba Amr continues to be shelled day and night, while the Free Syrian Army has declared withdrawing from Baba Amr to give the chance for humanitarian organizations to go into the neighborhood to help the residents.
The opposition is already whispering that "Baba Amr" and "Homs" will be a rallying cry for many protests across the country.
We also start today with a feature on how the humanitarian crisis in Homs is deepening, but Homs is just the face of the true scope of the suffering in Syria.