Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Embassy Attacks Recede, While 164 Die Across Syria on Saturday
See also Libya Opinion: The Lesson of Ambassador Stevens' Last Act --- "The Gravest Mistake Would Be to Write Off The Country" br>
Yemen Feature: The Story Behind the Attack on the US Embassy br>
Syria Snapshot: The Insurgents Kill a "Jihadist" Leader br>
MENA Opinion: Time for Muslims to Manage Their Anger br>
Saturday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Will the Clashes Around the US Embassies Continue Today?
Despite the clashes in much of the country, including reported shelling today of southern suburbs of Damascus, the Government has restarted the school year.
State news agency SANA said more than 5 million students would return to 22,000 schools, with only those damaged by war or housing refugees not resuming classes, quoting the Minister of Education:
The Ministry accomplished all procedures in cooperation with the parties concerned for launching the educational process at schools for the 2012-2013 study season and is working to complete preparations in the areas where armed terrorist groups prevent students from going to school.
1435 GMT: Yemen. The US Embassy in Sana'a has announced it will be closed until 20 September amid current tensions and demonstrations. It also reiterated that American citizens should "avoid large gatherings".
1405 GMT: Syria. The Free Syrian Army commander for Aleppo Province, Colonel Abdel Jabbar al-Okaidi, has doomed the mission of the new United Nations-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, only a day after Brahimi met President Assad for the first time.
"We are sure Brahimi will fail like the other envoys before him, but we do not want to be the reason of his failure," al-Okaidi said, after a Skype conference call with Brahimi and two other insurgent commanders.
Al-Okaidi reported, "We discussed the general situation in Syria, mainly focusing on the destruction wielded by the regime on the country."
The commander continued, "We are sure Brahimi will fail because the international community does not actually want to help the Syrian people. People are being killed continuously in the country, with all kinds of destructive weapons. What kind of international community is this, what kind of democracy does it preach?"
There is no confirmation on casualties, although witnesses said machine guns were used and an official said that the attackers had used rocket-propelled grenades and automatic rifles.
"They positioned themselves on the roofs of buildings opposite the security headquarters and launched the RPGs," the official said.
In a separate incident in the town of Sheikh Zuwayyid, 30 kilometres (19 miles) east of el-Arish, at least five people, including two civilians, were injured when fighters attacked a security forces convoy and the local police station.
Officials said eight people were arrested.
1005 GMT: Syria. In a wide-ranging interview, Iran's Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammad Ali Jafari has indicated that some members of the Quds Force, the elite Guards unit, are present in Syria as part of the Guard's "support for the oppressed nations, particularly Muslims".
Jafari said, however, that the aid was "intellectual and economic", not military.
(Cross-posted from Iran Live Coverage)
1000 GMT: Libya. The Embassy Attacks. Finally, a senior Iranian official has criticised Tuesday's killing of the US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, amid demonstrations over a US-produced film denigrating the Prophet Mohammad.
Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards, said the movie had "affected the feelings of Muslims and the only thing they could do was to take the protest to the Embassy", but anger did not give licence to attack and slay diplomats.
(Cross-posted from Iran Live Coverage)
Abu Ahmad, a young man who gave a false name for security reasons, says he has a list of 5,000 such families in Aleppo -- scene of fierce fighting for nearly two months between regime forces and rebels.
"I can only manage to bring a little food to 2,000 households," he says with a sad smile....
"The Free Syrian Army accompanies us during distributions, to ensure safety, but it does not provide any food," says the 28-year-old...."For the regime, we are terrorists because we are helping people in rebel-held areas."
The transparent plastic packets he distributes contain olive oil, rice, pasta, tea and sugar --- items purchased thanks to donations from wealthy Aleppo families or other sources.
"We don't get anything from anyone, no NGOs --- Syrian or foreign," he says.
Seven Libyans were wounded and were met on Friday by the president of the General National Congress, Mohamed al-Magarief.
Several senior Libyan officials, including the ambassador to the UN, had given the figure of up to 10 deaths, alongside the killing of US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
However, on Friday Prime Minister-elect Mustafa Abushagur wrote that “no Libyans died in the attack”.
0540 GMT: MENA. There were no significant demonstrations near US diplomatic missions on Saturday, but tension continued amid apologies from local governments for the violence that has killed at least 26 people across the Middle East and North Africa since Tuesday night.
Al Qa'eda tried to grab publicity with a call for more attacks on Americans, while the US Government ordered the departure of non-essential personnel and their families from posts in Sudan and Tunisia. Washington also issued travel warnings to its citizens in those two countries and urged them to leave.
Meanwhile, in Syria --- suddenly eclipsed by the drama of the demonstrations around the US-produced film denigrating the Prophet Mohammad --- 164 people were killed by security forces, according to the Local Coordination Committees. There were 67 deaths in Damascus and its suburbs, including 20 in Tadamoun, 39 in Aleppo Province, 22 in Idlib Province, and 15 in Deir Ez Zor Province.