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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Transition Plan Going Nowhere?

Two insurgents try to destroy a regime armoured vehicle with an RPG in Deir Ez Zor Province in Syria

See also Sudan Video Feature: Will the Protests Spread?
Syria Snap Analysis: As The World Talked in Geneva, The People Were Blown Apart in Zamalka
Sunday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: World Powers Agree to Disagree

2202 GMT: Syria. At least 114 people were killed today, according to the activist network LCCS:

34 martyrs in Damascus Suburbs, 27 martyrs in Hama, 23 martyrs in Homs, 13 martyrs in Deir Ezzor, 6 martyrs in Idlib, 4 martyrs in Aleppo, 4 martyrs in Daraa, 2 martyrs in Damascus and 1 martyr in Lattakia.

The dramatic violence continues, and it is not isolated to a single region. The daily death toll appears to consistently stay above 100, just another sign of how quickly things are deteriorating in Syria.

2048 GMT: Syria. Since dawn there have been a steady stream of reports of heavy fighting between insurgents and the Syrian military in Darraya, outside of Damascus (map), an important suburb as it is the gateway to the capital from the southwest. Now, the Local Coordinating Committees share this video, posted by a Youtube account that focuses on Darraya, reportedly showing an armored vehicle captured by the Free Syrian Army:

The same Youtube account has posted an EXTREMELY graphic video, reportedly showing many martyrs in the city.

Other reports suggest that perhaps dozens of Assad soldiers have been killed in today's action. However, yet other accounts have reported that the civilian population withstood more than 2 hours of heavy mortar and artillery shelling and yet others report that at least 4 people were killed.

2033 GMT: Syria. Earlier, it looked clear that the areas north of Aleppo were going to have a very busy day (see update 1503 GMT). However, the video below claims to show a field hospital in Azaz (map), where we count somewhere between 9 and 11 severely injured, dead, or dying people, the result of today's violence:

It's a graphic reminder that behind every report there could be a room like this in Syria filled with real people. But it's also worth considering that there are a dozen towns and villages near Aleppo reporting violence today.

2015 GMT: Syria. The pop of a gun, the wiz of a shell passing overhead, and the explosion - Talbiseh, north of Homs, reportedly taken earlier today (map):

The LCC has posted a second video, along with the note that Talbiseh has been shelled for 27 straight days.

1710 GMT: Syria. A gun-battle in Idlib province - note that the Free Syrian Army doesn't hesitate to attack the Assad forces despite the presence of nearby tanks:

1601 GMT: Syria. Shells are still falling on some suburbs of Damascus. This video shows smoke rising after shelling in Harasta, near Douma (map):

Gunfire echoes in the valley near Zabadani (map):

1518 GMT: Syria. More signs that the Syrian military is worried about its border - this video reportedly shows a report from a Free Syrian Army fighter in western Idlib, near the border with Turkey. He reports that the fires behind him are the result of helicopter attacks against insurgent positions, an attempt to shut the Free Syrian Army off from their supply lines in Turkey. According to the report, the attacks started at 6 AM.

The regime is taking a calculated risk - it could spark tensions with Turkey, particularly if the trees burn across the border, as wildfires are a threat in the area. It's a sign that the Free Syrian Army is enough of a threat to merit the risk.

Thanks to super-activist Zilal for translation help today.

1510 GMT: Syria. With so much violence in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, they're still finding bodies in the streets of Douma (map). A graphic video shows the body of someone who appears as though they were riding their motorbike when killed. Another terrible video claims to show the youth of the city collecting bodies that were buried in the rubble.

1503 GMT: Syria. Perhaps the most important location of today's fighting is in Aleppo province. The countryside is virtually overrun by insurgents, and Syria's largest city is nearly surrounded by the Free Syrian Army, but the military is fighting back, and both civilians and insurgents are paying the price.

So far, heavy gunfire and snipers are reported in Al Bab (map). In Al Atareb (map), videos show widespread destruction after heavy shelling. And this video shows a tank, reportedly destroyed by the Free Syrian Army:

Azaz and Tal Rifat were also, shelled, (map), and this video reportedly shows fighting between insurgents and regime military in Haritan (map), matching reports we received earlier:

A graphic video shows a body on the street and a car full of wounded, reportedly hit by gunfire in Anadan, north of Aleppo (map).

However, the battle in Anadan has not been all one sided. Translated by super-activist Zilal, this video claims to show the body of a colonel, Ahmad Sleiman , killed on the road, a direct retaliation by the FSA's Ansar Allah and Ahfad Omar brigades for the murder of so many who were killed in Zamalka on Saturday.

The entire region of Aleppo is witnessing heavy fighting, a sign of just how fast the regime appears to be losing ground.

1417 GMT: Syria. With hundreds dying every day, the streets of many cities are regularly filled with funeral processions, and as such the protest movement is once again surging, every funeral an excuse to voice opposition to the regime whom so many hold responsible for the deaths.

People protested deep into the night last night in the important Salah el Dine district of Aleppo (map):

Today's protests in Kafer Zita, north of Hama (map):

A large protest in the small town of Altimanah, in Idlib province (map):

An activist forwards us this video from a large protest in Hama province (map) on Saturday:

Every protester in the street is another reminder of Assad's lack of support among the people of Syria.

1403 GMT: Syria. More death in Syria - according to the LCC, 73 people have been killed so far today:

In Homs, there were 23 martyrs, 19 in Hama, 16 in Damascus suburbs most of them in the city of Douma, 7 in Deir Ezzor, 3 in Aleppo, 2 in Daraa, 2 in Damascus and 1 martyr in Lattakia.

This video shows a home burning in tje Al Qusour district of Homs, near Khalidiyeh (map):

1353 GMT: Syria. The Guardian notes that things between Turkey and Syria have become more tense in recent days:

Turkey scrambled six F-16 warplanes in three separate incidents yesterday, Today's Zaman reports citing military sources.

Turkey's armed forces command said the fighter jets were scrambled from Incirlik air base in response to Syrian helicopters flying south of the Turkish province of Hatay, within two to 2.5 miles of the Turkish border.

In similar incidents on Saturday, Syrian helicopters were said to have come as close as four miles from the border.

With Syrian attack helicopters and artillery hitting targets that are only a few kilometers from the border with Turkey, the stakes are high, as are the chances for another accident that could spark an international crisis.

James Miller takes over today's live coverage. Thanks to Scott Lucas for getting us through the morning.

1245 GMT: Syria. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, quoted by the RIA Novosti agency, has said Moscow will hold talks with two Syrian opposition groups, officials from the Assad regime, and United Nations envoy Kofi Annan this.

Bogdanov saud the first group, headed by opposition leader Michel Kilowill, will arrive later this week, while another group with Syrian National Council head Abdulbaset Sieda will visit Moscow after 10 July.

1240 GMT: Syria. Lebanon's General Security agency has announced, "On Monday at dawn, gunmen fired a rocket from Bqaiaa, in Lebanese territory, towards Syria, hitting a Syrian immigration post and wounding two border police."

The statement continued, "The Syrians pursued the gunmen and, during the pursuit, a Lebanese General Security post was hit. A Syrian unit arrived at the Lebanese post and apprehended two members of General Security, taking them into Syrian territory before releasing them."

The men who fired the rocket managed to escape, a General Security spokesperson said.

1235 GMT: Syria. Insurgents film a destroyed regime tank in Atareb in Aleppo Province:

1230 GMT: Syria. Ghatan Sleiba, a long-time anchor and reporter for the pro-regime Addounia TV station, has defected to the opposition and revealed he secretly provided intelligence to insurgents for the past seven months.

Sleiba, 33, who arrived in Turkey last Wednesday, said, "There are some others who also want to run, but there are more who love the regime from the depths of their hearts."

The journalist claimed insurgents were now in control of much of eastern Syria, especially the countryside surrounding major towns and cities: "This is one of the things that they never wanted us to talk about. What we were doing was not reporting. It was simply acting as the tongue of the regime."

1220 GMT: Syria. Back from an academic break to find that the main opposition groups in exile are holding a two-day meeting in Cairo to forge a common line for a political transition.

The Arab League's Secretary-General, Nabil Al Araby, who chaired the meeting of about 250 opposition figures, urged participants "not to waste this opportunity...[to] unite". He stressed the need for "a pluralist democratic system that does not discriminate between Syrians."

Nasser al-Qudwa, the deputy to United Nations envoy Kofi Annan, echoed the call: "Unify your vision and your performance....This is not a choice, but a necessity if the opposition wants to gain the trust of its people in Syria,"

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned that a “weak and disorganised” opposition would only benefit the Assad regime while assuring:

There will be a transition and change in Syria. It is inevitable, and there will be a new administration and democratic regime in Syria eventually. It must be clear that only the Syrian people are to decide about the future of any agreement on their own country.

The foreign ministers of Turkey, Iraq and Kuwait were also present.

0735 GMT: Iraq. Doctors and a lawyer have said that women are facing court-ordered virginity tests:

“Most of the cases we received after the first day of marriage,” said Dr. Munjid al-Rezali, the director of the MLI [Medical Legal Institute.

“The husband claims that she is not a virgin, and then the family brings her here, through the courts, this all come through the courts, and we examine her,” Rezali said, speaking in English.

“It’s not uncommon, we are seeing a lot,” he added.

0715 GMT: Bahrain. Could the sympathetic treatment by Bloomberg of regime-linked propaganda about "bombers" and "explosives" (see 0705 GMT) be linked to this briefing from the State Department's Victoria Nuland last Thursday?

The Bahraini Government’s discovery of several facilities for producing highly explosive bombs is of deep concern. We commend the Government of Bahrain for its counterterrorism efforts and for conducting a thorough and professional investigation that has eliminated a serious threat to Bahrain and to its people. There is no justification for any party holding such material, the use of which would exact an enormous human toll and severely escalate tensions in the country. Violent acts are counterproductive to the reconciliation efforts, which are crucial to building a prosperous, secure, peaceful future for the people of Bahrain.

0705 GMT: Bahrain. A propaganda success for the regime, as Bloomberg --- without critique --- runs this item from one of the kingdom's outlets: "A group of three people suspected of assembling home-made bombs appear to have been trained in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon, al-Watan newspaper reported, citing preliminary police investigations."

Given the recent developments over "security" between Bahrain and Britain, this raises an eyebrow: "A team from [London's] Scotland Yard arrived in Bahrain to help with the investigation after Bahrain’s police said on June 27 it had seized five tons of explosive material during raids on buildings in which the suspect devices were being assembled."

Bloomberg also features the campaign amongst some in the Bahraini establishment against the US ambassador in Bahrain, passing on the Al Watan item that the Sunni al-Asalah Society has "blamed...Thomas Krajeski for the spread in violence among the Kingdom’s dissident groups".

Al-Asalah said Krajeski's “incorrect” reports and his inability to condemn “clearly and explicitly” the use of Molotov cocktails by protesters, in addition to Washington's pressure on Bahrain to release “convicted terrorist” Abdulhadi Alkhawaja --- the human rights activist who was on hunger strike for more than 100 days this spring --- had led to more violence against the state.

0635 GMT: Libya. Witnesses say protesters demanding greater autonomy for eastern Libya have ransacked the offices of the electoral authority in Benghazi.

About 300 people chanting pro-autonomy slogans took ballot boxes out of the building and burnt election papers in the street.

Libya is electing a new Parliament on Saturday, in the first national polls since the fall of the Qaddafi regime last autumn.

0630 GMT: Syria. The Damascus Center for Human Rights pays tribute to Ahmad Hamada, a videographer killed in Homs last month:

He was the eye that documented bloodshed, killing and suffering. He risked his life to document turning points in the history of the Syrian revolution hoping that this might revive the pity and conscience of humanity in the world.

Hamada's footage on 6 June 2012 of the collapse of a 12-story building:

0500 GMT: Bahrain. The Independent of London offers an exclusive story of relations between the Kingdom and Britain:

A member of Bahrain's ruling family was entertained at the Foreign Office as the international community condemned the Gulf state for its brutal repression of political opponents....

Lt Gen Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah al-Khalifa, Bahrain's Interior Minister, held private talks with British officials last Wednesday at the same time as more than 20 countries issued a United Nations statement expressing concern about the human rights situation in the country – which Britain refused to sign.

Briefing documents reveal that the Bahrain minister was in the country to learn about policing in Northern Ireland. The British government, which is a "long-standing ally" of Bahrain, is "keen to share lessons learnt from our experience in Northern Ireland", the documents say.

In fact, the meeting was far from secret. Lord Howell, the Foreign Office Minister of State who met Al Khalifa, issued a statement that "the Bahraini Government has made some progress in addressing the recommendations of the Independent Commission of Inquiry, but wider concerns still need to be addressed". Bahrain's regime-linked media claimed --- without evidence --- that Howell said "Bahrain is considered an example in the region and its situation should not be linked to the Arab Spring".

What was distinctive about the discussion and, unknown before yesterday, was the conversation over Northern Ireland and the British "experience of policing in a sectarian environment". The Foreign Office then set out, despite Howell's public caution, that London --- whose former assistant police chief John Yates is supervising the operations of Bahrain's security services --- is keen to work with the Kingdom:

[Our] policy is that Bahrain is a long-standing ally who has embarked on a process of reform. We want to help them along this path for the long-term stability of the kingdom and wider region. It is of course important that Bahrain solves the situation itself, but if the UK can be of any help then let us know.

0500 GMT: Syria. It did not take long for Saturday's international agreement on United Nations envoy Kofi Annan's proposal for a transitional national unity government to run into trouble. Regime-linked media sniffed"The agreement of the task force on Syria in Geneva on Saturday resembles an enlarged meeting of the UN Security Council where the positions of participants remained the same," while Burhan Ghalioun, a senior member of the opposition Syrian National Council denounced the "mockery" and "farce": "This is the worst international statement yet to emerge from talks on Syria".

The activists of the Local Coordination Councils of Syria concluded:

The new agreement provides vague language which is open to interpretation. This provides yet another opportunity for the regime’s thugs to play their favorite game in utilizing time in order to stop the popular Syrian Revolution and extinguish it with violence and massacres across Syria.

Meanwhile, the LCCS announced that the death toll from the funeral procession in the Damascus suburb of Zamalka, struck by an explosion as the Geneva meeting was concluding, had reached 85. It added that 174 people had been slain on Saturday and 69 on Sunday.

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