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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Pause in the Conflict?

A Saturday evening demonstration in the Khamidiya section of Homs, including the children of those who have died in the 14-month conflict

One of a series of photos of fighting in the Lebanese city of Tripoli between supporters and opponents of the Syrian regime --- at least four people died (see 0905, 0955, and 1603 GMT)

See also Syria Snapshot: Assad's Supporters Clash With Kurds --- But Can the Kurds Unite?
Syria Wired: The Latest from Social Media and EA's Readers
Bahrain Live Coverage: Challenging the US Arms Sale
Saturday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: An Uneasy Frontline

1733 GMT: Lebanon. A sit-in demonstration at Aleppo University today:

1603 GMT: Lebanon. Witnesses and officials say at least four people, including a Lebanese soldier, were killed and another 24 injured in the overnight fighting in the Lebanese city of Tripoli between residents for and against the Assad regime (see 0905 and 0955 GMT).

1547 GMT: Syria. Claimed footage of youths, with stones and chants, facing gunfire in Aleppo:

Syrian troops moving through the Damascus suburb of Douma this morning:

1535 GMT: Syria. Zayed Hammad, head of the local charity Ketab and Sunna Society, has said, "Around 20,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Jordan in April and March. The society is now taking care of 40,000 Syrian refugees, most of them in Amman."

According to the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 15,999 Syrian refugees are registered in Jordan. However, the Jordanian regime says more than 100,000 Syrians have sought refuge in the kingdom since the March 2011 start of the uprising.

1520 GMT: Syria. Regime forces have released the bodies of seven young men killed in a military raid on the Damascus suburb of Barzeh in exchange for an army officer abducted by insurgents, opposition sources have said.

The army had refused to release the bodies of the seven, killed on 5 May in a sweep of Barzeh, prompting the insurgents to abduct the officer, Youssef Zaghbour, days later.

Live video footage broadcast by activists on Sunday purportedly showed the coffins, covered in red and white roses, of three of the seven slain men. Thousands shouting slogans demanding freedom and waving green and white flags from the era before the Baath Party took power in 1963.

Authorities have often kept the bodies of those killed by regime forces to try and ensure that funerals will be small and quiet when the corpses are released.

1450 GMT: Iraq. The New York Times reports on a flagship US "security" programme which appears to have gone awry:

In the face of spiraling costs and Iraqi officials who say they never wanted it in the first place, the State Department has slashed — and may jettison entirely by the end of the year — a multibillion-dollar police training program that was to have been the centerpiece of a hugely expanded civilian mission here.

What was originally envisioned as a training cadre of about 350 American law enforcement officers was quickly scaled back to 190 and then to 100. The latest restructuring calls for 50 advisers, but most experts and even some State Department officials say even they may be withdrawn by the end of this year.

The training effort, which began in October and has already cost $500 million, was conceived of as the largest component of a mission billed as the most ambitious American aid effort since the Marshall Plan. Instead, it has emerged as the latest high-profile example of the waning American influence here following the military withdrawal, and it reflects a costly miscalculation on the part of American officials, who did not count on the Iraqi government to assert its sovereignty so aggressively.

1320 GMT: Tunisia. Speaking to Al Jazeera English, President Moncef Marzouki has pointed to continuing challenges, 16 months after the removal of the Ben Ali regime:

We have had this revolution because of the poverty in some regions. But it's extremely difficult to find jobs for more than 800,000 people, so we have to look for investments. The problem is that our youths are extremely impatient and I can understand....Sometimes I have a kind of nightmare, thinking that we can have another revolution within the revolution, coming from the same areas and that we could have dead or wounded in demonstrations.

Marzouki expressed hope about political developments, however:

I feared that we might have some problems with the constitution because the very conservative part of the society they wanted that Sharia should be the main source of legislation. Fortunately we reached a kind of consensus between the most important political parties in Tunisia that we are not going to write that Sharia is (the main source)....

So we are going to have a secular constitution, a very good constitution. Because everybody is interested in having and protecting human rights, women's rights, there is a very large consensus about the constitution.

1300 GMT: Syria. The Local Co-ordination Committees in Syria report that 21 people have died today, including eight civilians slain amid fighting in Tamaana Al-Ghab in Hama Province (see 1015 GMT).

1215 GMT: Algeria. Brian Whitaker provides a summary of Thursday's Parliamentary elections and critiques the endorsement of them by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Foreign Secretary William Hague:

These reactions followed the usual approach of western governments in such circumstances: to accept declarations of reformist intent until proved otherwise, and to signal their approval of steps "in the right direction" while emphasising the need for more.

1015 GMT: Syria. Regime troops backed by armoured vehicles have killed seven civilians as they overran Tamanaa Al-Ghab, a village west of Hama, burning houses and arresting dozens of people, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights.

Four women were among those killed. "The village was subjected to collective punishment. Over half of its houses were burnt. Several people were executed when they were arrested. The rest were killed from bombardment," a statement from the Syrian Network.

Activists said demonstrations in Tamanaa angered the inhabitants of a nearby Alawite village called al-Aziziyeh, a recruiting ground for militia loyal to President Assad. The militia participated in an attack on Tamanaa on Friday, killing two youths.

0955 GMT: Lebanon. The reported death toll from overnight clashes in Tripoli between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Assad (see 0905 GMT) is now at least three, including a Lebanese soldier shot by a sniper.

0915 GMT: Syria. Demonstration this morning in Inkhel in Daraa Province.

Soura in Daraa Province:

0905 GMT: Lebanon. Two people have been killed in overnight fighting in the Lebanese city of Tripoli between members of the Alawite community supporting Syrian President Assad and members of the Sunni majority.

Rocket-propelled grenades and automatic rifles were used in the fighting in an Alawite enclave and surrounding Sunni neighborhoods in the port city, 70 kilometres (44 miles) north of Beirut.

"The clashes peaked at dawn. The sound of gunfire is still echoing in the city," a Lebanese security official said.

0550 GMT: Syria. After Thursday's bombs in Damascus and Friday's displays of mass protest, Saturday was a relatively quiet day in Syria. There were few reports of fighting and fewer videos of rallies challenging the regime.

Still, the Local Co-ordination Committees of Syria claimed that 20 people died at the hands of security forces, including six in Hama Province and four each in Idlib and Homs Provinces and in the Damascus suburbs. And reports of shelling of those suburbs continues this morning, with Douma said to be under fire this morning.

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