1910 GMT: Syria. Activist Hama Echo reports that fighting continues to intensify in Deir Ez Zor:
Fierce clashes taking place around the Hamdan military airport in Deir Ezzor. [DPN] It's a staging area for Assad's troops and artillery.— (@HamaEcho) August 31, 2012
The Free Syrian Army appears to be gradually (even painstakingly) advancing. Despite the superior firepower of the Assad army, the regular army does not appear to have the manpower or the will to successfully defend the eastern provinces. The question is whether the FSA's lack of logistical support will force it to retreat before they finally break through Assad's line. Time will tell, but this news may be sign that a new offensive is under way, and it's worth monitoring in the next few days.
1832 GMT: Syria. While we've yet to find video of a downed helicopter in Sarmeen (see updates below), we've found several reports of protests there. This video, and another, reportedly show today's crowds: