Claimed footage of Libyans taking US Ambassador Chris Stevens --- unconscious or dead --- from a building in Benghazi on Tuesday night (see 0520 GMT)
See also Syria Feature: The Darayya "Massacre" and a Regime's "Slow, Steady Killing Strategy" br>
Syria Feature: "Insurgents Subjecting Detainees to Ill-Treatment, Torture, and Execution" br>
Iran Analysis: Tehran Hurts Itself With Muddled Messages on Syria br>
Sunday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Embassy Attacks Recede, While 164 Die Across Syria on Saturday
2106 GMT: Lebanon. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah, has told a rally of tens of thousands protesting the US movie denigrating the Prophet Mohammad, “America must understand that releasing the entire film will have dangerous, very dangerous repercussions around the world.
The rally was in the Dahiyeh district of south Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold. Nasrallah said to the crowd that Western arguments over freedom of speech were “hypocrisy, deception, and double standards”. He called for “an international resolution criminalizing the defamation of heavenly religions".
2031 GMT: Syria. Back from an extended break to find the Local Coordination Committees reporting 131 people dead at the hands of security forces today including 46 in Damascus and its suburbs, with 10 dead in the Yarmouk refugee camp; 30 in Daraa Province, with 13 killed by shelling of Lajah; and 26 in Aleppo Province.
1408 GMT: Yemen. Yemen, like many Arab nations, is in a difficult position with this recent wave of protests. On one hand, it absolutely cannot afford to further anger its populace. On the other, it has to balance those concerns with the requirement to protect US interests and foreign embassies.
Last week the US deployed a group of 50 marines to protect the US embassy in Sana'a. Today, the Yemeni government, reflecting the balance described above, released a statement ensuring its public that this was only temporary:
"Because of the split in the army and the security forces, we allowed a limited number of Marine forces to protect the American embassy only," Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's media adviser Rajeh Bady told Reuters.
"They are (here) temporarily for a limited amount of time and they will leave Yemen," he said.
1348 GMT: Syria. Damien Spleeter, a freelance journalist, is in Syria, in Idlib, and has a series of reports that confirm eyewitness accounts we've heard today:
Regular shelling on jebel zawiyah. Helicopter high. 5 to 6 passages for 30min. Already 3x today. About 10 km from here.— Damien Spleeters (@damspleet) September 17, 2012
Could see helico and explosions from here. Walls shaking. I am told 7 dead, 10 houses destroyed, 10 wounded from one shelling yesterday.— Damien Spleeters (@damspleet) September 17, 2012
(Hat tip to the excellent Brown Moses).
Several videos show heavy shelling in the Jabal Zawiya region:
1335 GMT: Syria. Tanks and mortars are again shelling southern Damascus, according to activists. The Coalition of Free Damascenes for Peaceful Change (CFDPC) post several videos showing heavy smoke and gunfire in Hajar al Aswad:
Just a few months ago, this level of violence in Damascus would be headline news. Now, 25 people have already been killed in Damascus, according to the Local Coordination Committees (see our note on the figures put out by the LCC), 10 alone in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp just a fe kilometers away from where these videos were taken.
By those same numbers, 50 people have been killed nationwide.
James Miller takes over today's live coverage. Thanks to Scott Lucas for getting us started.
0955 GMT: Syria. Iranian State news agency IRNA reports that Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi will meet counterparts of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey today in Cairo in the first high-level meeting of a new "contact group" on the Syria conflict.
IRNA added that Salehi will also speak with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, the initiator of the contact group. It will be the first meeting between an Iranian official and Morsi since the Egyptian President unsettled Tehran's hosting of the Non-Aligned Movement summit last month by giving a speech highly critical of the Assad regime.
Salehi told the Iranian Students news agency before leaving Tehran on Monday that Iran would be setting out its "clear" position: "We are very hopeful given that four important countries of the region are gathered to discuss one of the sensitive issues of the region....We hope that its results will correspond to the interests of all the people of the region, and to peace and stability."
(Cross-posted from Iran Live Coverage)
The officials say the missiles hit a rugged and remote area on the edge of the Lebanese town of Arsal. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
The explosion occurred in morning rush hour at a checkpoint near the 14 July bridge over the River Tigris, which leads to the Karrada district. Three security personnel were among the dead and MP Habib Hamza al-Turfi was reportedly injured.
As the death toll in Syria continues to rise, and the end of hostilities seems no closer at hand, the words from February of a Syrian activist, who fiercely defended the democratic and non-sectarian nature of the rebellion, resonate.
“If no one else comes to help, of course people will turn to religion. When you are dying, of course you will become more religious,” he said.
The fight for Aleppo, much better planned and coordinated than perhaps any rebel offensive so far, offers a window into what things might look like after the Syrian government falls. Liwa Tawhid, one of the largest groups fighting here, had even made contingencies for policing rebel controlled neighborhoods and laid out plans to set up schools. Their plan for schooling includes religious instruction, and their council for making decisions about the fate of prisoners includes an expert in Islamic law.
At a mosque being used as a base for fighters in another neighborhood, a sign warning civilians against entering was another sign of the religious drift. The sign referred to the men inside as “mujahidin,” which translates as holy warriors, as opposed to “thowar,” which means revolutionaries.Last Tuesday, at another rebel base, members of Ahrar al Sham, a group whose members describe themselves as Salafis, followers of a conservative strain of Islam some of whose followers also are thought behind last week’s attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere, handed out leaflets delineating the difference between mujahids and other rebels. It used the perjorative term “shabiha” – a Syrian word that usually refers to pro-government militiamen accused of carrying out some of the war’s worst atrocities – to refer to non-mujahids.
0900 GMT: Syria. United Nations human rights investigators have drawn up a new, secret list of Syrian individuals and units suspected of committing war crimes and will be submitting it to the UN Human Rights Council.
The investigators, led by Paulo Pinheiro, said they had gathered "a formidable and extraordinary body of evidence" and urged the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.
Pinehiro said there was an "increasing and alarming presence" of Islamist militants in Syria, some joining the insurgents and others operating independently. Their presence tended to radicalize the insurgents who have also committed crimes, he asserted.
0700 GMT: Syria. Regime forces direct tank shelling in Aleppo while a crew from Addounia TV films:
0550 GMT: Syria. Paul Wood of the BBC posts a first-hand account of the regime's aerial attacks in Aleppo --- an extract:
The Syrian air force jet roared over, making people crane their necks and flinch at the same time.
A small dot --- a bomb --- detached from the plane as it disappeared over the buildings on the horizon.
We counted to five before it hit, a deafening explosion that rattled the windows. A large black cloud billowed up, blotting out the sky at the end of the road.
It was noisy chaos when we got there.
A crowd of dozens quickly became a couple of hundred as men ran in from side streets to help. A white pick-up truck was enveloped in flames. A circle of scorched earth, 30-40m across, radiated out from it. Weeds on the edge of the blackened concrete were still burning too.
A plump woman in a headscarf and floral robe --- her housedress --- was pulling a small boy along by the hand. "Abdo, Abdo." She called out, the name of a man who ran to scoop up the child.
"Abdo, my family is dead."
She was barefoot, fleeing what remained of her home in a three storey apartment block. Part of the block's facade had gone, the roof collapsed. There were still people inside.
0520 GMT: Libya. Claimed footage (see top of entry) has been posted of Libyans around the body of the US Ambassador, Chris Stevens, after the attacks at and near the American Consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday night:
If this footage is authentic, it indicates that Stevens was unconscious or dead in a building after the reported attack on his convoy as it tried to move from the Consulate to a safe house. And how does one assess the response of the Libyans --- celebration or an attempt to help the victim?
0510 GMT: Syria. We begin with the fight in the country's largest city, Aleppo.
State media proclaimed on Sunday that said Syrian troops had fully "purged" the Midan district of insurgents, declaring that scores of the enemy had been killed across the city.
The problem for the claim is that it has been made on numerous occasions since the Free Syrian Army launched operations inside Aleppo on 19 July. On some occasions, the supposedly-cleared area has not been pacified; on others, the insurgents regroup and return.
In addition to the fighting in Aleppo, regime forces reportedly shelled parts of Damascus, and State media's assertions pointed to military operations near Rastan in Homs Province.
The Local Coordination Committees claimed 167 people had been killed by security forces on Sunday, including 60 in Damascus and its suburbs and 50 in Aleppo Province.