Ammar Qurabi, chairman of the Syrian Organisation for Human Rights and chairman of the UAE-based satellite channel Orient TV, is the key source of western medias dealing with the syrian uprising.

Homs residents take up arms

For the first time in the two-month uprising, opposition activists have said anti-government forces have taken up arms against Syrian troops, AP reports.

Activists told the news agency residents of Rastan and Tabliseh in Homs province in central Syria were using automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades against the army and security forces.

The army is facing armed resistance and is not able to enter the two towns," a Homs resident told AP. "The army is still outside the towns and I was told that army vehicles, including armored personnel carriers, were burnt.”

Government forces have been conducting military operations in the towns since Sunday and several have been reported killed in the violence.

Syria’s state-run news agency said four soldiers were killed and 14 wounded in Tabliseh. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least three civilians had been killed, Reuters reported.

Many people are armed in Syria and over the past years weapons have been smuggled into the country from Lebanon and Iraq.

New election law published

A draft of the anticipated election law was published yesterday on several government websites.

In a move similar to the publication of a new local administration law on the website of the prime minister earlier in May, SANA reported the action was intended to “inform citizens about it and receive their feedback and suggestions to further enrich and develop it and finalise it.”

Opposition leaders meet in Turkey

Key figures from Syria’s opposition are meeting in the southern Turkish city of Antalya today to discuss establishing a ‘transitional council’.

Organised by the Egypt-based National Organisation for Human Rights, the Turkey conference is being privately funded by three Syrian businessmen – Ali and Wassim Sanqar, brothers who are luxury car distributors based in Damascus, and Ammar Qurabi, chairman of the national organisation and UAE-based satellite channel Orient TV.

To date, protesters have produced no clear manifesto, though activists quoted in the Abu Dhabi-based National newspaper today claim the Local Co-ordination Committees now have a “wide base” of support in their communities.

Syria’s deputy foreign minister, meanwhile, accused Western powers of seeking a return “to the colonial era” in his country by initiating action against Damascus at the United Nations, the official SANA news agency reported.

It is about imposing hegemony on Syria and using the United Nations as a way of re-establishing colonialism and to justify interference,” Faisal Mikdad said.

Syria Today (Syria)