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Tuesday’s bloodshed was in the southern province of Daraa, the central city of Homs and the capital, Damascus, and its suburbs.

Amateur videos posted by activists online showed protesters calling for the downfall of the regime and even the execution of Mr. Assad - a sign of how much the uprising against Mr. Assad has grown in size and anger over the past five months.

YEMEN

Military: Defense minister escapes blast

ADEN — Yemen’s defense minister escaped unharmed when a bomb went off Tuesday in a village in southern Abyan province, an al Qaeda stronghold, a military official said.

“Two soldiers were killed and two others wounded in the explosion of the device in a convoy of the defense minister [Mohammed Nasser Ahmed Ali] near Al-Kud,” a village the army recaptured from al Qaeda two days ago, the official said.

Mr. Ahmed “escaped unhurt,” said the same source, adding the two men who were killed were bodyguards of the south’s military commander, Gen. Mehdi Maqwala, who had been accompanying the minister.

“We have reports that al Qaeda has planted 150 explosive devices in areas it controls, and the explosion today could be due to one of these devices.”

The minister had been on his way to an end-of-Ramadan inspection of brigades fighting against al Qaeda in Abyan, whose capital Zinjibar has been occupied by Islamist militants since the end of May.

Suspected al Qaeda gunmen killed 10 Yemeni soldiers and several others were wounded at Dofes village, near Zinjibar, during clashes on Sunday and Monday, the military said.

In the latest clashes in the area on Tuesday, military shelling killed “six al Qaeda fighters,” whose bodies were taken to hospital in the al Qaeda-held village of Jaar, according to a local official.

From wire dispatches and staff reports