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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Knowns Beyond the Unknowns of the Elections

See also Syria Video Feature: Having Fun with the "Elections"
Israel Feature: Netanyahu and Opposition Agree "Unity Government"
Bahrain Live Coverage: Countering the Regime's Allegations Against Nabeel Rajab
Monday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Elections Today --- Sham or Substance?

2007 GMT: Libya. The Libyan judiciary has begun its first civilian trial of alleged supporters of the Qaddafi regime, with five defendants accused of planning to create instability by "terrorist acts".

Ali Ashaab Mohammed, the head of the court, said the men had been arrested in Zawiyah, just west of the capital Tripoli: "Today's case ... is about a group of former regime loyalists ... They were planning to conduct terrorist acts and create instability in the country, as well as carrying weapons. Some of them confessed that they took part in fighting battles in some areas."

1954 GMT: Syria. Amid reports of gas shortages, people queue up to fill canisters in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta:

1948 GMT: Syria. James Bays of Al Jazeera English has managed to get inside the country --- he sends this report from Qusayr, 30 kilometres (19 miles) from Homs:

Al Jazeera English also broadcasts an earlier report by Bays about the Free Syrian Army "regrouping" amid expectations that no cease-fire will last:

1632 GMT: Syria. The LCCS is reporting that the central districts in Homs are being heavily shelled right now. Also, this video reportedly taken in Al Rastan shows heavy gunfire, and rubble, in the city. Reports are coming in that the city has once again been heavily attacked by Syrian military forces.

1559 GMT: Syria. The Guardian shares this live stream of heavy gunfire in Al Qusayr, Homs:

According to the LCCS, Talbiseh and al Rastan, both north of Homs, are also being heavily shelled today, and many injuries and casualties are reported.

1444 GMT: Libya. More on the violence outside the government headquarters, from CNN's Jomana Karadsheh:

1420 GMT: Libya. Gunmen have attacked the headquarters of the interim government in Tripoli. Gulf News has details:

"Many men encircled the building and opened fire against it with weapons including anti-aircraft cannons," a government employee present during the attack told AFP.

"Some men entered the premises and fired from inside," he said, adding that chaotic scenes unfolded as people sought cover.

According to the reports, the gunmen may have been former rebels who were upset about unpaid stipends. The BBC reports that at least one person was wounded, and the building is surrounded.

A dozen pick-up trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns are surrounding the building, says the BBC's Rana Jawad in Tripoli.

1314 GMT: Iraq. Interpol has issued a "red notice" for Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, and is asking all 190 member nations to assist in finding and arresting him. The notice, however, is non-binding, and while member nations are encouraged to arrest Hashimi they are not bound to do so.

Hashimi is currently residing in Turkey as a guest of the state, and the Turkish government has already indicated that they would not arrest Hashimi.

In February, Iraq's top judicial committee accused al-Hashimi's security detail of carrying out 150 attacks against security forces and civilians between 2005 and 2011. Al-Hashimi said the nine-judge council was under the control of the Shiite-dominated central government and has denied the charges, calling them "politically motivated."

Charges against al-Hashimi appear to be based on the purported confessions of three men, identified as the vice president's security guards. Iraqi state television aired video of the confessions in December, but CNN has not been able to verify the men's identities independently.

1306 GMT: Syria. Lebanon has seized a shipment of ammunition stored in two cars on an Italian cargo ship.

The two cars, searched on Monday, held 60,000 bullets including rounds for 9mm pistols and Kalashnikov (AK-47) rifles, the source said. "The ship is Italian but picked up the two cars in (the Egyptian port of) Alexandria," he added.

In late April, Lebanese authorities seized a large consignment of Libyan weapons including rocket-propelled grenades and heavy calibre ammunition from a ship intercepted in the Mediterranean. The ship's owner said the vessel was travelling to Tripoli in Lebanon.

1254 GMT: Syria. The International Committee of the Red Cross has declared Syria to be in a state of "armed conflict," a designation that changes the international law that can be applied to the conflict:

The ICRC assessment means that international humanitarian law, embodied in the Geneva Conventions laying down the rules of war, is applicable to both sides in some parts of Syria.

It requires the humane treatment of all people in enemy hands and the duty to care for the wounded and sick. But it also means that the parties to the internal conflict are entitled to attack military targets, under international humanitarian law.

Citing the increasingly large Free Syrian Army, and the increase in guerilla tactics, the Red Cross is essentially saying that the country is in a state of civil war. This designation means that the Free Syrian Army is not committing acts of terrorism when it attacks and kills Syrian security forces. On the flip side, the Syrian military is also not in violation when killing members of the armed insurgency.

The move is potentially significant. First of all, it is the first step in the vindication of the Free Syrian Army, whom the Red Cross is not calling "terrorists" but rather revolutionary forces. Also, both sides of the conflict are bound to the rules of war as set out by the Geneva convention. These laws mean that the armed combatants are responsible for treating prisoners of war with care, and providing humanitarian and medical assistance to wounded and captured civilians or enemy soldiers.

James Miller takes over today's coverage. Thanks to Scott Lucas for getting us started early this morning.

0425 GMT: Syria. Syrian State news agency SANA puts out the appropriately effusive report on Monday's legislative elections, "The wide popular participation which was run within an atmosphere of democracy has reflected the Syrian people's commitment to practice their electoral right with a free will to elect whom they see fit to represent them at the people's Assembly." It adds the flourishes of an open process:

The political parties, trends and powers and independent candidates are taking part in the elections with electoral rolls, alliances or independently under a judicial supervision that ensures fairness, freedom and democracy for the electorate in choosing their representatives....

Chairman of Higher Committee for Elections, Judge Khalaf al-Azzawi, said that voting is proceeding normally and quietly.

In a statement to SANA during a tour of voting centers in Damascus, al-Azzawi said that there were some minor remarks that were made in some centers and that heads of elections committees were informed of them, adding that they ensured the availability of secret ink and private voting booths.

On voting in other governorates, al-Azzawi said that the Committee hasn't received any complaint, objection or remark from judicial subcommittees in governorates regarding the voting process.

No numbers have been attached to the summary, but the State's Addounia TV had a running implication through the day of a grand display of support for the regime:

Although some of [Homs'] neighborhoods have been badly battered, Addounia's excitable female correspondent Kinda Khodr suggested there was a party atmosphere across Syria's third-largest city. "I'm not going to talk about the number of voters, the camera will show you that!" she said, as the camera panned out to a crowded room that broke out into chants of "Abu Hafez," in reference to the president. Khodr then walked into an adjacent classroom, pointed to a plastic semi-transparent ballot box that looked to be about three quarters full, visual proof of robust participation.

She turned her microphone toward a young bearded man in a gray tracksuit who was about to cast his vote. "Freedom comes from here, not from killing and destruction," the man said. "Whoever wants freedom, come here. Vote. This is freedom."

"What do you want from our elected representatives?" the reporter asked.

"I am a laborer, I just finished work, look at my hands," the man said. "I would just like our representatives to reduce prices."

"Wafaa," Khodr said, using the first name of the perfectly coiffed female anchor in the studio. "This is the voice of Homs, of the Homsi street," she said, as people chanted "God, Syria, Bashar!"

Non-State outlets contested the claims, however. Video, some of it used by Al Jazeera English's coverage (see top of entry), asserted that there was a widespread boycott across the country, with rallies challenging the regime's narrative.

Meanwhile, there were other all-too-well-known developments beyond the vote. The Local Co-ordinating Committees of Syria reported a death toll of 25 on Monday, with six other bodies from earlier in the conflict discovered in Homs.  Gunfire and shelling was reported from Hama to Aleppo Province to Tafas in Daraa Province. And crowds gathered to protest in Barzeh outside Damascus last night:

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