The crowd in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Tuesday night, protesting the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Force's expansion of power (Photo: Mosa'ab Elshamy/Al Jazeera)
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Tuesday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: 90 Die as Obama and Putin Talk About Conflict
1610 GMT: Syria. There are a series of reports of heavy shelling, air strikes, and gunfire in a series of towns in Daraa province, including: Daael, Nawa, Tel Shehab, and Mezayrib. Putting them all our map of the day's events, and a clear pattern is formed, that the cluster of towns just north of Daraa city are seeing a large-scale military campaign today. In Daael alone more than 50 injuries, and at least 3 deaths, are reported. This video reportedly shows an assault helicopter attacking ground targets in the city:
The LCCS provides a possible clue - there is a report of heavy fighting between the Free Syrian Army and regime forces in Nawa. The question is - did the FSA attack the regime, sparking the military campaign, or are they simply responding to an Assad attack?
1532 GMT: Graphic videos and images have been circulated by activists showing the bodies of three men reportedly killed in Douma, an important suburb of Damascus (map). According to some, the men were kidnapped and murdered by "shabiha," pro-Assad militiamen.
1435 GMT: Syria. The Red Cross and Red Crescent have announced an attempt to evacuate civilians from the old city of Homs and the neighbourhoods of al-Qarabees, al-Qusour, Jurat al-Shayyah, and al-Khalidiya. However, the agencies say that an agreed pause in fighting must be in place before any evacuation begins.
A spokesman said, "We made a request yesterday for a pause in the fighting to allow an evacuation of civilians to take place. It's the second time we have sought such a pause since the Syrian government agreed in early May to consider such requests. Government forces and the armed opposition have agreed to the pause, which needs to be put into practice to allow evacuations to occur."
Hassan was detained in mid-May and held for almost a month, taking school exams behind bars --- see his account in yesterday's Live Coverage..
They call it the "Sunni market" --- a comic term with a dark undertone.
As rockets and gunfire crackle in the central city of Homs, hardline loyalists from President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite sect steal goods from the shattered neighbourhoods of Sunni Muslims, the majority population that led the revolt against him.
Grocery stores and thrift shops become loot markets.
"Maybe I'll nab a bargain," says a 50-year-old woman wandering through a supermarket that now trades in looted furniture. "I found a really nice kitchen table set made of gorgeous old wood. But he wants $200 dollars for it!"
Furniture usually goes for around $50 or less. Clothes and shoes are $5 to $20. Everything is open to negotiation.
The woman haggles with the shopkeeper. "These are the spoils of war. It's our right to take them," she says.
1210 GMT: Syria. There also appears to be significant military action in Hama province today, south of Idlib. The LCCS reports that several men have been shot by security forces in Latemnha, between Hama city and Idlib province (map).
Meanwhile, an activist reports that shells have fallen on the central al-Hadar district of Hama city (map):
Unfortunately, after two hours of broadcasting, the live stream went dead a few minutes ago. However, the archive is below, and if it says "Live" in red letters, the new stream can be found there:
Here is another video that reportedly shows heavy shelling the the Al Hadar district of Hama:
This video, which we have not verified, also reportedly shows heavy gunfire last night in the Al-Hadar district:
1135 GMT: Libya. Campaigning for Libya's first elections have already begun for the election that will take place in 3 weeks. Al Jazeera reports:
1117 GMT: Syria. A quick look at the headlines from the Syrian opposition, and we get a sense that the Assad military offensive continues in several areas, particularly today in Idlib. The Local Coordinating Committees, a network of activists, have this report from Ma'arrat al Nouman, a key crossroads in the region (Map):
Fierce shelling at the city and 5 artillery shells targeted the Maarshmareen town from Wady Deef. Military aircraft are flying above the city amid intense gunfire from the security checkpoints at the civilians' homes.
On a Sunday late last month, Syrian army forces attacked this town. By early afternoon, two children had been killed by a mortar shell, and doctors and nurses were struggling to save an elderly woman shot in the chest with a Kalashnikov. An attack helicopter circled overhead. The local rebel commander phoned his compatriots in the nearby town of Madaya for help.When the reinforcements arrived, they focused on the chopper. One group took off with a truck-mounted Dushka heavy machine gun, racing through the streets as the helicopter swooped above. Others fired at it with Dragunov sniper rifles and Kalashnikovs.
Asked how he hoped to shoot down an armored attack helicopter circling above at 2,000 feet using only a rifle, one of the fighters grinned. “Perhaps it is possible, if it is the will of Allah,” he said.
The thousands of rebel fighters who battle daily with the superior forces of the Syrian military face long odds. Many have no military training. There’s little strategic planning. Even as international efforts to support the rebel cause begin to kick in with a flow of smuggled rifles, heavy weapons remain scarce.
And yet, a rare look inside rebel operations in Syria reveals a force that has been undeterred by the crushing tactics of President Bashar al-Assad’s army. Heavy losses in the rebel ranks and among civilians have only emboldened the fighters in their quest to topple Assad, whose government has killed thousands of Syrians while trying to suppress what began last year as a peaceful uprising but is rapidly turning into a civil war.
1033 GMT: Bahrain. The presentation by the Gulf Daily News of the latest hearing in the case of some of the 21 activists and opposition leaders, such as Abdulhadi Alkhawaja and Ibrahim Sharif handed long prison sentences last June:
A key suspect in the retrial of 21 men accused of allegedly trying to overthrow the government has been accused of fighting alongside Hizbollah militants and having ties to the Iranian military.
Clergyman Shaikh Mohammed Al Saffaf, also known as Al Meqda, said military prosecutors claim he took part in the Lebanese group's 2006 war against Israel and was due to welcome 40 war ships Iran was reportedly planning to send to Bahrain to support an attempted coup.
He also allegedly supplied medicines from Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) to the militant group.
The revelations came as Mr Al Saffaf and nine other defendants attended the latest hearing in the case at the Supreme Criminal Appeals Court yesterday.
However, the suspect, who was earlier jailed for 96 years in 11 cases related to last year's unrest, said the allegations against him were totally false.
0941 GMT: Syria. The Russian shipping company Femco has denied, after the halting of one of it cargo vessels off Scotland, that it is involved in illegal transport of weapons and attack helicopters to Syria.
The MV Alaed stopped after a London mutual association withdrew its insurance coverage. The British Foreign Office said later that it returned to Russia.
"Reports about illegal actions of the MC Alaed's owner are inaccurate. The vessel is currently making a regular commercial voyage, in full accordance with international norms and rules," Femco said in a statement.
Fars claimed 90,000 troops and hundreds of ships, tanks and warplanes from the four countries would be involved.
The Russian Ministry of Defense said the reports were "disinformation", and the Russian news agency Interfax quoted Bouthaina Shabaan, an adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, "There will be nothing like that. This is one of those (pieces of) false information that are distributed."
The Observatory said insurgents had assaulted "two buildings which the army was using to launch mortar attacks against the Kurdish Mountain”.
0852 GMT: Turkey. Reuters updates that 26 soldiers and PKK insurgents were killed in fighting at three army outposts on Tuesday in Hakkari Province in the southeast.
Officials and security sources said up to 100 insurgents of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) launched simultaneous dawn attacks, killing eight soldiers and wounding 19. In subsequent clashes, Turkish troops killed 18 PKK fighters.
The Israeli military said about 50 rockets had landed from Gaza, wounding several people. Islamic Jihad had announced that a truce would go into effect at midnight.
Six Palestinians have been killed this week by airstrikes.
0635 GMT: Syria. Claimed footage of damage in the Damascus suburb of Douma from Tuesday's shelling:
We believe that nobody has the right to decide for other nations who should be in power and who should not. It is not changing the regime that is important, but that after changing the regime, which should be done constitutionally, violence is stopped and peace comes to the country.
Putin had discussed the Syria situation with US President Barack Obama on Monday. Yesterday Obama said, "I wouldn't suggest that at this point the United States and the rest of the international community are aligned with Russia and China...but I do think they recognize the grave dangers of all out civil war."
0455 GMT: Egypt and Syria. A day of rumours about the condition of former President Hosni Mubarak culminated in a frenzy of conflicting reports last night about his move from prison to military hospital and possible demise.
A Ministry of Interior spokesman coined the phrase "clinically dead" to describe the state of Mubarak, who reportedly suffered a stroke. However, a representative of the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces said, "Any talk of him being clinically dead is nonsense."
This morning sources in the Ministry of Interior and Mubarak's family are saying that the deposed leader has been revived and is on an artificial respirator in an intensive care unit in the military hospital. His lawyer says Mubarak in a coma.
Meanwhile, the Local Coordination Committees of Syria say that 52 people died in violence on Tuesday, including 17 in shelling of the Damascus suburb of Douma. State media highlight the burial of 16 "martyrs" from the security forces yesterday.