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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Fighting, Snipers, and Death Throughout Aleppo

Demonstration on Saturday night in the Rukneddin section of Damascus

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Saturday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Fighting, Snipers, and Death Throughout Aleppo

1842 GMT: Syria. The Local Coordination Committees claim 51 people have been killed by security forces today, including 14 in Damascus and its suburbs, 10 in Aleppo Province, and 10 in Daraa Province.

1822 GMT: Syria. A demonstration tonight in the Damascus suburb of Hamourieh:

1605 GMT: Bahrain. Raising fears of a new media-supported campaign against opposition activists, pro-regime newspaper AlWatan's front page today claims to reveal the "conspirators" who were tasked with casting the Bahrain government's reputation into disrepute in Geneva last week. With their faces circled in red, the newspaper "reveals" the Bahrainis who travelled to Geneva last week -- quite openly --- to speak out about the country's human rights violations at the UN Human Rights Council. The group includes citizens from NGOs Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and BRAVO, as well as members of AlWefaq and Wa'ad political societies.

The newspaper accuses the activists of being on a "mission to defame and ruin the reputation of Bahrain" and insinuates they were funded and backed by overseas agents. The red circling is particularly troubling as it recalls the period at the height of last years violence where Bahrain state television broadcast images of opposition activists with their faces similarly circled in red, seen by many as inciting violence against them.

A similar campaign occured in May at the time of the Universal Periodic Review of Bahrain. The UN Human Rights Council's global report on "Cooperation with the UN, its representatives andmechanisms in the field of human rights", issued in August, included Bahrain as a case study:

Reportedly, a number of Bahraini newspapers, including Al Watan and the Gulf Daily News published articles labelling human rights defenders in Geneva who had provided information for the consideration of Bahrain in the Working Group on the UniversalPeriodic Review as "traitors". Individuals who had been present at the universal periodic review session were described as the "disloyal bunch" whose mission it was to "tarnish Bahrain's reputation".

1345 GMT: Syria. President Assad's only sister Bushra is now living in Dubai with her children, Syrian residents have said.

Bushra's husband General Assef Shawkat, an army deputy chief of staff and effective head of Syrian intelligence, was killed with three other high-ranking officials in an 18 July bombing at the National Security headquarters in Damascus.

Bushra Assad, a pharmacist, has enrolled her five children at a private school in Dubai, according to Syrian expatriates.

Assad's brother Maher commands the elite Fourth Brigade. Two other brothers, Bassel and Majd, are dead.

1236 GMT: Syria. The National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria, an opposition group, has proceeded with a conference, despite the abduction of two of its leaders on Thursday after they arrived at Damascus's international airport.

The Ministry of Interior said “terrorist groups” kidnapped the two men and an NCB member who met them at the airport.

NCB foreign affairs head Abdel Aziz al-Khair and executive committee member Eyas Ayyash, who were greeted by NCB member Maher Tahan, were returning from talks in Beijing with Chinese leaders, including Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

1136 GMT: Egypt. President Barack Obama has written his Egyptian counterpart, Mohamed Morsi, to thank Cairo for securing the US Embassy during last week's protests after a US film denigrated Prophet Mohammad.

After demonstrations erupted on 11 September, with the US flag torn down and burned, police clashed with protesters and barriers were erected to stop the crowd getting near the compound.

In the letter, Obama repeated Washington's condemnation of the film and said he looked forward to working with Mursi on a "strategic partnership".

The tone was in marked contrast to Obama's statement, just after the demonstrations, that the US did not consider Egypt either an ally or an enemy.

1130 GMT: Libya. Journalist Borzou Daragahi, citing the State news agency WAL, says the military has given unauthorized militias a deadline of Monday night to abandon their bases.

The head of the Libyan Assembly, Mohammed Al Magariaf, said all camps and militias not under the authority of the government would be dissolved and no unauthorised checkpoints would be allowed.

Meanwhile, the Libyan Army drove a break-away division from its base on Tripoli’s airport road.

The National Mobile Forces raided and evicted the Secondary Technical Barracks early Sunday morning. It reported that it had ”arrested all the members of the group as well as confiscated all the weapons found within this location, which belongs exclusively to the Ministry of Defence”.

0620 GMT: Yemen. Twelve fighters were killed in the northern Saada Province on Saturday in ongoing clashes between Shi'a Houthis, allied with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and Salafi Islamists.

Residents trapped in street fighting in the city of Raada said the Salafis, from the opposition Islah Party, were fighting Houthis with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons.

0600 GMT: Syria. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, in a television interview on Saturday, repeated his warning to President Assad, "The Syrian regime needs to understand that the continuation of bloodshed goes against all laws, desires, history and humanity."

Morsi also pressed the "contact group" of the Egypt-Iran-Turkey-Saudi Arabia, even though the initiative stumbled last week when the Saudis stayed away from the first high-level meeting. He said, ""I do not believe Iran's presence in the group is part of the problem, but part of the solution," and expressed hope that the group can meet at the "highest level" around the United Nations General Assembly session in New York this week.

0500 GMT: Syria. Last night's summary was a stark contrast to the weeks of regime claims that it has cleared the country's largest city, Aleppo, of insurgents:

In Suleiman al-Halabi, one of Aleppo's main streets, the army prevented residents from venturing into the area amid steady gunfire in the third day of fighting.

One resident said, "Almost 80 percent of the people in Suleiman al-Halabi left their homes after rebels entered the area."

Locals warned of snipers in the adjacent neighborhood of Midan, held by the regime, as streets were empty, shops were locked up, and several buildings and apartments were destroyed.

"The battle is now between snipers," Sheikh Walid, the head of an insurgent brigade in the southern Amiriya district said, as only few hundred meters separated the rival forces.

In Maysar, nine people were reportedly killed, including five members of the same family. Residents said insurgents reinforcements were pouring into the eastern district of Sakhur and Shaar.

This is not only confirmation that the regime has yet to take over insurgent-held areas. It also indicates the President Assad's military is being challenged in the sections that it controls.

The Local Coordination Committees reports that 220 people were killed by security forces on Saturday, including 66 in Damascus and its suburbs, 60 in Aleppo Province, 43 in Hama Province, and 26 in Homs Province.

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