Smoke this morning above Army Staff Headquarters in Damascus after two explosions
1820 GMT: Syria. In his address to the United Nations General Assembly, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has upheld his initiative of a four-nation contact group --- Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iran --- and declared, "The bloodshed in Syria and the humanitarian crisis that has unfolded, must be stopped."
A full English-language text of the speech has been posted.
1720 GMT: Syria. Back from a long break for a business meeting to find the official casualty figure for today's double bombing near Army Staff Headquarters is six dead –-- t four security guards and two suicide bombers --- and 14 wounded.
Security has been increased in the area of the explosions with roadblocks and checkpoints. A resident said, "Most of the people who work at governmental institutions could not go to work today."
Meanwhile, the Local Coordination Committees report one of the bloodiest days in the 18-month conflict, with 290 people killed by security forces. The 162 dead in Damascus and its suburbs include a claim of 107 people slain in a mass killing in al-Thiabieh. There are also 37 killed in Deir Ez Zor Province, 26 in Homs Province, and 25 in Daraa Province.
An activist, Sami al-Shami, said the explosions were caused by a suicide car bombing and a second car loaded with explosives on the perimeter of the military complex. Insurgents then moved inside the building and clashed with security, while others set fire to the headquarters.
Al-Shami's account --- with the claim that "there must be several security forces dead, there's no way the rebels could have made it in that far, fighting their way in, without killing any security forces" --- matches the accounts of residents of gunfire and smaller blasts for at least two hours after the first explosions, as security forces blocked off roads and ambulances went to the scene.
Videos Videos of the fire inside the building suggest explosives were planted after the initial bombing.
A reporter for Al-Manar said he was in the building after the explosion and saw the bodies of three "armed men".
1230 GMT: Syria. Footage of the Army Staff Headquarters ablaze after the two explosions this morning in Damascus:
1154 GMT: Syria. Claimed footage of the aftermath of the shelling of the Public Registry building in Deir Ez Zor in the northeast (Warning: Graphic):
1107 GMT: Syria. The crowd in front of the burned Army Staff Headquarters in Damascus:
A Lebanese citizen in the town of Ham, along the border with Syria, was killed by Syrian gunfire early this morning. His brother was severely injured..
0943 GMT: Syria. The Free Syrian Army has claimed responsibility for this morning's bombings: "The Free Army hit the General Staff building in Damascus' Umayyad Square and dozens were killed in the two powerful blasts."
0937 GMT: Syria. Iran's Press TV reports that its correspondent Maya Naser, was killed by sniper fire from "foreign-backed insurgents" in Damascus this morning as he was reporting on-air. The channel claims the bureau chief of Press TV and Iran's Arabic-language Al-Alam TV, Hussein Murtada, was injured.
Naser's last message this morning on Twitter:
Twin explosions hit the Syrian capital this morning, one in Omawyeen square and the other in Abu Remanneh #Damascus— Maya Naser (@nasermaya) September 26, 2012
0912 GMT: Syria. Another video of the burning Army Staff Headquarters after this morning's double explosion in Damascus:
Alkhawaja, the daughter of political prisoner and activist Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, has been detained on several occasions and shot by a canister at close range since the February 2011 mass protests. She has been in prison since 2 August and faces seven charges, including one of ripping a picture of King Hamad.
0723 GMT: Syria. The BBC posts a report and video of claims by former detainees that they were sexually abused and raped by security forces. Testimony by an activist who was working with a church-based human rights group:
At first, he says, a security official began to touch him sexually. There was also an officer who watched what was happening but remained silent. Then he was attacked by a group of three officers.
"The three guys, they are like animals. I tried to protect myself but I'm just a short guy… when they were raping me, I start to say: 'Please don't do that, please don't do that.'"
As he was being raped, he says his attackers mocked him. "You want Assad to quit? This is for saying that you don't like Bashar al-Assad."
0709 GMT: Libya. Omran Shaaban, one of the insurgents credited with the capture of Muammar Qaddafi last October, has died of injuries in France, after being kidnapped, beaten, and slashed by the former leader's supporters in July near the Libyan town of Bani Walid.
The National Congress has authorised police and the army to use force if necessary to apprehend those who abducted the 22-year-old and three companions.
Shaaban was praised as a "dutiful martyr", although his family says he never received a promised reward of 1 million Libyan dinars ($800,000) for the capture of Qaddafi, who was killed later that day.
The conservative Islamists took almost a quarter of the vote, finishing second to the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, but Ahram reports that Nour has delayed internal elections for its leadership amid disputes between top figures.
0653 GMT: Syria. State news agency SANA's English-language website says only, "Two terrorist explosions on Wednesday took place near the General Staff building in Damascus, fire broke out in the area."
The Minister of Information has said that all military leaders are unhurt. He said, amid reports of gunfire and blocked roads in the blast area, that security forces were chasing "armed terrorists".
0614 GMT: Syria. Army Staff Headquarters on fire in Damascus, after this morning's double explosion:
0600 GMT: Syria. State TV is reporting two explosions, causing a fire, near an army staff building in Damascus. Insurgents claim one blast targeted the Military Aviation Department.
Footage of smoke above the area:
0500 GMT: Syria. On Tuesday, the Assad regime claimed yet again that it had "cleared" a section of Aleppo, this time the Arcoub district. The bigger story, however, may be Free Syrian Army operations around Syria's largest city. The insurgents said they had taken the town of Kafr Naha and attacked and occupied a security forces' building in Sheikh Ali.
Meanwhile, explosions reached the area near the Golan Heights bordering Israel and regime shelling continued across Daraa Province, Aleppo, Idlib Province, and around Damascus. The Local Coordination Committees reported that 148 people had been killed by security forces during the day.