As the Syrian military finally retreats from Dara’a after a ten-day siege, Dubai TV reports that tanks and armored vehicles were seen entering a number of other towns in Homs province, including Rastan and Talbisa. The Syrian state news agency SANA reported that the military began withdrawing from Dara’a after capturing what it referred to as “terrorist elements.” However, activists on social networking sites said that Dara’a is still under a “suffocating siege,” with military forces in the street and snipers stationed on rooftops.
Al-Jazeera features a report on media repression throughout the Middle East during the revolutions in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain. These countries’ regimes have carried out similar campaigns to suppress the media by confiscating permits, arresting journalists, and even killing journalists and photographers. Al-Jazeera’s office in Syria was shut down after several employees received threats. Only Syrian state-run media has been allowed to cover the protests in Dara’a since they erupted two months ago. Yet these extreme measures have not prevented the spread of revolutions across the Middle East.
Amnesty International has called on Bahraini authorities to end the arrests of opposition members and to release detained protestors. Bahraini authorities continue their violent crackdown on protests despite international pleas. Religious scholars, soldiers, medical personnel, and journalists have been arrested throughout the country. Al-Alam reports that Bahraini authorities asked Human Rights Watch lawyer Joshua Colangelo to leave the country before he was able to investigate human rights abuses.
Sixteen police officers were killed and 65 people injured in a terrorist attack in the Iraqi city of Hilla early this morning. Al-Iraqiya reports that a car filled with explosives targeted police headquarters in the city center. Residents of Hilla affirmed that the attack will not hinder the determination of the Iraqi people to “pave the way to a new Iraq.”
The BBC reports that protests calling for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime continued in cities throughout Yemeni, as living conditions deteriorate due to heightened food and gas prices. Some believe that the gas crisis is being staged by Saleh and as a punishment to the opposition.