Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout

Just a little over an hour ago I posted this diary with the hopeful title "Syria: Cease fire takes hold as mass protests breakout", now that ceasefire appears to be faltering as new reports start streaming in of new attacks by the Assad regime on peaceful protesters in Syria.

From Al Jazeera Live Blog:

12:04pm pst - Syria Activists have uploaded a number of videos which appear to show that the government has not complied with the demand to withdraw troops and heavy weaponry from residential areas. This footage is from the centre of the city of Homs.

11:40am pst Syria - This video appears to show students being arrested in the city of Aleppo.

About 9:17am pst we received this from Al Arabiya English:

#BreakingNews: Syrian army forces fire on protesters outside the parliament in Damascus: Local Coordinating Committees #Syria

This live stream from Ahrarsy2, purporting to show Syrian forces firing on peaceful protesters in Syria went dead.

From the International Business Times we have this:

Syria Ceasefire Violations Reported in Homs, Idlib and Hama

Activists in Syria have said that Bashar al-Assad’s troops were violating conditions of a ceasefire in major cities, although no major attacks have been reported.

The Syrian government said it had agreed to fully withdraw troops and tanks from city centres and was committed to ending the violence as part of Kofi Annan’s peace plan, which came into effect at 3am GMT.

While no major attacks have been reported, activists reported violations in Homs, Idlib, Hama and Zabadan.

Witnesses reported shelling in Homs, near the Jouret Shiyah and Khaldiyeh neighbourhoods, in the Hama neighbourhood of Jabal Shahshabo-Qalaat Al Madiq and in the Al Zalah area of Zabadan. Heavy gunfire was also reported in Idlib.

“Security forces are still here, the snipers are still here, the tanks are still here. Nothing has changed and the shelling is continuing”, a Syrian activist for the Syrian Network for Human Rights told IBTimes UK from Homs.

Although the Syrian Army has failed to remove its army and heavy weapons as called for by Kofy Annan's peace plan, they do appear to be honoring the ceasefire that started at 6:00am Syria time. Activist plan to test the ceasefire by calling mass protests in many areas of the country. These are expected to build towards the time after Friday prays, the traditional time of protests. Already mass protests have been reported in four areas. Armed conflicted began in Syria only after the regime had been firing upon peaceful protesters for months.

Here is your basic AP story from the Huffington Post:

Syria Ceasefire Deadline Observed, Assad Regime Forces Remain In Place

BEIRUT — A fragile cease-fire brokered by the U.N. took hold in Syria on Thursday with regime forces apparently halting widespread attacks on the opposition. But there were reports of scattered violence and the government defied demands to pull troops back to barracks.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the onus was on President Bashar Assad's regime to keep the peace.

"As of this moment, the situation looks calmer," he told reporters in Geneva. But the cease-fire is "very fragile" and a single gunshot could derail the process, he added.

Ban will now ask the U.N. Security Council for speedy deployment of an observer mission, said special envoy Kofi Annan, who brokered the truce.

In the hours after the 6 a.m. deadline, a civilian was reported killed and the state-run news agency said "terrorist groups" launched a roadside bomb that killed a soldier. But there was no sign of the heavy shelling, rocket attacks and sniper fire that have become routine.

If the truce holds, it would be the first time the regime has observed an internationally brokered cease-fire since Assad's regime launched a brutal crackdown 13 months ago on mass protests calling for his ouster.

Here is a livestream that shows anti-regime protest rally in Deir ez-Zour. It is active as I publish this. It is coming from an Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S:

Meanwhile there are many more deflections from the Syrian Army. Both of these videos were posted to YouTube yesterday:

There have been massive deflections from the Syrain army in countryside of Aleppo. Does the ceasefire mean that Assad has to stop shooting his own troops?

These soldiers are from the city of Deraa:

From the New Syria: #Bayyadah‪ ‬#Homs‪ ‬#Al‪ Assad thugs killed a mother with her baby after the announcement of the cease-fire!!!

In Damascus tonight....

More later.....

More from Libya:

Libya has its ceasefires too, and it is reported that as of this morning fragile peaces negotiated by the NTC in Sabha and Zawara continue to hold. Ismael reports that the Libyan army just secured Qatrun and Traghen, two of the most remote southern towns in Libya, after the recent Sabha clashes and that there have been no clashes or problems have occurred in Sabha or the south since the Libya army deployment but the situation is still tense with reconciliation efforts on going. As for Zawara, the Rigdalin council is taking good steps towards reconciliation and talks are still ongoing between sides to solve old issues.

Also in this morning's mail I found this piece by Lindsey Hilsum on the role of women in the Libyan Revolution:

ON THE face of it, Libya’s was a very male revolution. Covering the armed rebellion in the east of the country, I came across thousands of young men firing their Kalashnikovs into the air and talking excitedly about the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi. Their sisters, they told me, were at home. The National Transitional Council, the political body which formed itself in March 2011 to represent the rebels internationally, was composed almost entirely of men. Yet, when I returned to Libya last September to research my new book Sandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution, I learnt that behind the scenes, women had been playing a crucial and largely unreported role.

Enas Dokali, a twenty-six-year-old computer programmer in the government mapping department, had loathed Gaddafi since, as a little girl, she was taken to visit her uncle in the notorious Abu Salim prison. Alongside more than 1200 other political prisoners, he was killed in a prison massacre in 1996, the signature atrocity of the Gaddafi regime. Most of those killed were Islamist opponents to the regime. Coming from a devout family, Enas’s appearance made her an effective spy for the rebels. In her long coat and headscarf she could walk around town drawing little attention. She noted where military units were based and spotted important regime members going in and out of buildings. The sister of a friend was travelling backwards and forwards to Tunisia taking the information to friends working with the rebels. Enas collected money and clothes to send to the fighters and coordinated shipments of weapons. She and her friends had no secure communications, so they used the mobile phone network and talked in code: an important person was “Mr Chips”; weapons and ammunition were “sandwiches”; videos were “underwear.”

In July, as the uprising reached its final stages, Enas was caught. She spent the last month before Gaddafi was ousted in prison, enduring not only confinement but also sexual abuse, narrowly avoiding rape. She ended up in Abu Salim, where her uncle had been murdered, and was liberated by the rebels as they took the prison. Afterwards, with the support of her family, she decided to go public about her experiences in prison, giving interviews to Arabic TV stations, only to find that for every person who sympathised with her experience there was another who blamed her. “Some people say I took money to go on TV, and that I’m running after fame. Others don’t believe I wasn’t raped,” she said. “But just because you’re arrested you shouldn’t feel shame. Even women who were raped should say so, they shouldn’t be ashamed.”

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