Protest near the Yarmouk refugee camp in southern Damascus on Thursday night, after it had been shelled during the day by regime forces
Thursday's Syria, Bahrain (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The "New Normal" --- Death From the Air br>
The Ministry said the request of the opposition society Al Wefaq to march through the capital Manama had been denied because "the proposed route would have caused major traffic delays and negatively affected businesses in the major business corridor". Al Wefaq had defied this with public statements over social media that called for participation: "as a result, various people gathered at the meeting place and engaged in the blocking of roads, vandalism, and the spreading of fear among the business owners in the area".
The Ministry asserted that "special security forces...used legal, necessary force to disperse the vandals", with six arrests.
The Ministry concluded that it was filing a case against Al Wefaq to be referred to the public prosecution.
2029 GMT: Syria. A reader points us in the direction of a report on the Unification Brigade's Facebook Page that 350 political prisoners were freed during the liberation of the Hanano military barracks (see previous updates). However, this has not been confirmed.
2015 GMT: Syria. Two twitter users, @hlk01 and @brown_moses, share two more videos claiming to show the FSA attacking the Hanano military barracks in Aleppo (map). The barracks, a major forward base in the city, reportedly fell to the FSA after the attack:
The Syrian Consul in Kuala Lumpur, Emad al-Ahmar, and the diplomatic attaché, Mahmoud Obeid, announced their defection from the Syrian regime...
The Syrian ambassador in Iraq Nawaf al-Fares was the first Syrian diplomat to announce defection from Assad’s regime in July.
He was then followed by the Syrian ambassador in Belarus Farouk Taha; the Syrian ambassador in the United Arab Emirates Abdul Latif al-Dabbagh and the Syrian ambassador in Cyprus Lamiaa al-Hariri.
Other defections included Khaled al-Ayoubi, the Syrian envoy in London and the Syrian diplomatic attaché in Serbia Bashar al-Haj.
1825 GMT: Syria. Earlier we had video of the FSA launching attacks in Saleh el Dine. Now, this video claims to show an FSA fighter firing an RPG in Itha'a, where a mosque minaret collapsed on Wednesday (map):
More video showing the FSA attack on the Hanano barracks in Aleppo:
Activists have also shared a statement made by FSA soldiers reportedly inside the walls of the barracks.
40 in Damascus and its suburbs, 25 in Aleppo, 21 in Deir Ezzor, 13 in Homs,3 in Idlib, 2 in Daraa, 2 martyrs originally from Banyas that were martyred in Aleppo and the other in Damascus Suburbs, 2 in Hama, and 2 in Lattaki.
A few notes - so far the LCC has no mention of the claimed massacre of 45 people in Aleppo (update 1603). Also, they report that only 3 members of the FSA were killed in the raid on the Hanano barracks (see update 1501). Only three? This was a major offensive on one of the most hardened targets in the city. That's a remarkable claim, though we're not capable of verifying it.
1805 GMT: Syria. For every story, it seems Syrian state-run news has a different narrative. This is a tweet just sent by SANA (their website has been loading incredibly slow, or has been down completely, for weeks):
1603 GMT: Syria. There has reportedly been a massacre in the Akramieh district of Aleppo (map). Several Youtube accounts, and Twitter accounts, have released this video, which is extremely graphic in nature and claims to show approximately 45 people killed by the regime. This territory is also reportedly under regime control, as it is between Saleh el Dine and a major military base:
This report should be treated as unconfirmed.
1558 GMT: Syria. Despite the violence, protests continue. It's purely anecdotal, but it appears to us that protests are larger and more widespread today than they were last week, and last Friday's protests were perhaps larger than they have been in the last month or two, though there is still no doubt that the amount of violence has deterred protests in many areas.
Khan al Subil, Idlib province (map):
Protesters in Yarmouk (map) braving the shelling to protest. Protests have been growing steadily for days, a direct response to the crackdown:
A large parade in Qamishli, where protesters carry Kurdish and Syrian opposition flags (map):
A very large protest in Kafranbel, a city that has been attacked, liberated, bombed, shelled, and shot at many times, but a city that continues to host huge protests, and defiant signs written in English:
Many Syrians feel as though the US and UN should intervene, but they are far more frustrated with Russia and china whom they hold responsible for supporting Assad:
37 in Damascus and its suburbs, 21 in Aleppo, 21 in Deir Ezzor, 13 in Homs,3 in Idlib, 2 in Dara, 2 martyrs originally from Banyas that were martyred in Aleppo and the other in Damascus Suburbs. and 1 in Lattakia.
In Damascus, shells are falling in the south, in and around Hasr al Aswad and Yarmouk, a continuation of yesterday's violence, but there are also reports that Mezzeh (map), Yalda (map), and Harasta (map), and elsewhere.
1508 GMT: Bahrain. Police chasing protesters in the capital Manama:
1501 GMT: Syria. A potentially significant military victory for the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo. According to the Local Coordination Committees, the Hanano military barracks in the center of the city has fallen to the FSA (map).
Videos taken earlier suggest a large-scale FSA attack on the barracks, indicating that it's possible this report is true:
Many other videos show massive damage to houses nearby, reportedly the result of the regime shelling and bombing the area, possibly a response to this attack. One video even shows helicopters moving towards the scene, perhaps an attempt to stop the FSA advance:
The Hanano barracks is a major hub for Assad troops, and is one of the only forward operating bases in central Aleppo. The loss of this base, if true, is a fairly significant blow. With each victory like this, the center of the city is becoming more secure for the FSA, allowing the soldiers to concentrate on the major bases on the outskirts of the city.
Whole neighbourhoods have been destroyed in the last 24 hours in the bombardment of the Yarmouk Palestinian camp, according to an activist in the area.
Speaking to the Guardian, Mahmoud Nasar, said:
Since last night Yarmouk has become a target for Syria military rockets. They bombed Yarmouk from Qassum mountain. There are a lot of casualties because it was a civilian neighbourhood that was bombed. We have the names of ten people who died, and around 70 or 75 wounded. All of them are civilians.
In a call interrupted by the sound of a shell landing, he added: "We have never seen shelling like this before. They used very big mortars. I saw one of the explosions, it was very very strong. A building with two floors came down."
But we've also seen the first video claiming to show teargas:
Arrests of peaceful protesters have also reportedly been made:
1421 GMT: Bahrain. Amid reports of heavy security in the capital to prevent an opposition march, one Bahraini activivist sends the messsage, "I don't think there is even 1 policeman in any police station all over Bahrain today they are all in #Manama."
One of numberous photographs of tear gas in the alleys of Manama:
1400 GMT: Bahrain. More protests:
But now there are reports of widespread uses of teargas:
Even more concerning, there are unconfirmed reports of rubber bullets, or even shotguns (firing birdshot, which can be very deadly), being used by police to disperse the crowds:
1352 GMT: Bahrain. Protests are large, despite the closure of many roads that has kept many away:
However, teargas is already reported:
The second explosion in Damascus may have been larger than the first. State television says it was a car bomb which exploded between the information ministry and the main courthouse.
No word of casualties in that explosion so far. The death toll in the earlier Rukn al-Din explosion is now officially put at six – one civilian and five security personnel.
1346 GMT: Bahrain. The Committee to Protect Journalist has called on authorities the quash the life sentence of blogger and journalist Abduljalil Alsingace, one of 20 activists whose punishments were upheld by an appeals court on Tuesday.
1320 GMT: Syria. The violence makes international headlines, but only if the death toll is staggering. The rumors of chemical weapons, or Jihadis, or other sensational (and marginally scaled) stories get lots of media attention. What usually gets left out, however, is that despite 18 months of killing that has cost the lives of possibly 25,000 people, every Friday, like clockwork, large numbers of Syrians take to the streets to protest. And every protest has a theme, agreed upon by organizations of activists who vote on Facebook:
Friday's protest day is called "Besieged Homs is calling" Under shelling for more than 1 year, besieged for 93 days and will never bow down.— (@HamaEcho) September 6, 2012
Below are just a few of the videos we've seen.
This first was reportedly taken in Zaranah, Idlib province (map):
Manbaj, Aleppo (map):
KAfrouma, Idlib (map):
Aleppo road, Hama (map):
Mare, Aleppo (map):
The El Waer district of Homs (map):
1307 GMT: Bahrain. An EA Correspondent on the ground has an ominous prediction:
Heavy clashes are expected today in Bahrain capital, Manama, after AlWefaq have announced a march there and MOI has denied [the application].
The Guardian has already seen reports that roads leading to the planned protest site, and much of Manama, have been closed by police.
Fresh reports indicate traffic stops and car searches:
Despite the security, protests have started:
1259 GMT: Bahrain. The lawyer for detained human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, allowed to visit him yesterday, writes about the attempt by the Ministry of Human Rights to see Rajab in Jaw Prison. Mohamed Al Jishi portrays a defiant Rajab and a Ministry intent on a public-relations show of "good conditions" rather than listening to the activist's concerns about rights:
After several attempts by Faihani, Nabeel agreed to talk about bad sit. for all prisoners & requested transferring truth without a twist.— Mohamed Al Jishi (@Mohamed_AlJishi) September 7, 2012
Al Jishi continues that Rajab "spoke about the bad situation of all prisoners in Jaw Jail without exception"; however, the Ministry "didn't carry out their promise and issued a twisted statement today".
Syrian TV said five policemen were killed, and an official at the scene told The Associated Press that six died. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
An Associated Press reporter at the scene said the bomb went off across the street from the mosque and damaged a clinic as well as six cars. Officials at the bomb was placed on a motorcycle.
Voice of America adds more details:
Syrian state television said the blast was caused by an explosives-rigged motorcycle at the Rukniyeh mosque in central Damascus. The Syrian capital has been hit by a string of explosions since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March last year...
The British-based group also said Syrian residents have recovered 45 unidentified bodies in two areas near the capital, the latest such finds of suspected mass executions in the 18-month-long conflict.
At least 23 bodies were discovered Thursday in the eastern suburb of Zamalka, while another 22 were found in Qatana, southeast of the capital.
1224 GMT: Syria. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh offers another must-see report on the situation in Aleppo:
James Miller takes over today's live coverage. Thanks to Scott Lucas, who is on the road, for getting us started today.
A Syrian official said at least 10 people were wounded, some seriously.
1125 GMT: Syria. Speaking of his three-day visit to the country, the head of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, has said, "I was shocked by the immense destruction of infrastructure and homes in several areas I visited."
Maurer spoke of his meeting with President Assad:
blockquote>I discussed with President al-Assad our outstanding request to visit all persons detained in Syria in connection with the current events – persons held in all facilities, including those managed by the security authorities and those used for interrogation. President al-Assad expressed his readiness to address this issue.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Local Coordination Committees had no immediate word on casualties from the fighting in Kazaz, where the offices of several Syrian security agencies are located.
1055 GMT: Syria. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has launched a series of high-profile criticisms of President Assad this week, has tried a historical approach during a speech to an international conference today.
“What happened in Karbala 1,332 years ago is what is happening in Syria today,” Erdoğan said.
Karbala was a battle in 680 between supporters and relatives of Prophet Muhammad's grandson Husain ibn Ali and military forces of Yazid I, the Umayyad caliph, in what is now Iraq.
Meanwhile, Syrian State news agency SANA has criticised an "impudent" Prime Minister:
Erdogan accuses Syria of terrorism while he and his government practice this terrorism overtly against the Syrian people through harbouring, training and supporting the armed terrorist groups, in addition to facilitating the infiltration of terrorists and Jihadists to Syria.
0635 GMT: Syria. Moments after we post a feature on the "many local insurgent leaders" in the Jabal al-Zawiya region, an activist highlights this video of an insurgent force in the area declaring unity:
0535 GMT: Syria. The regime's military shelled part of southern Damascus near the Yarmouk camp for Palestinian refugees, killing at least 20 people, on Thursday.
Yarmouk camp has been closed off from neighbouring districts amid regular clashes.
That fighting and the shelling on Thursday is testimony to the continued presence in Damascus of the Free Syrian Army, after it established a foothold in the capital this summer. Residents said that the regime military may believe that insurgents in the nearby neighbourhoods of Tadamon and Hajar al-Aswad have been slipping into Yarmouk.
A video last night (see top of entry) offers an interesting footnote to the day's events --- a vocal demonstration indicated that, far from quelling the challenge in Yarmouk, President Assad's forces had merely prompted more signals of resistance.