• Troops attacked near UN convoy in Dera'a
• Free Syrian Army threatens to resume hostilities
• Annan warns of descent into civil war in Syria
Tunisia: The foreign ministry has accused US ambassador Gordon Gray of interfering in Tunisia's internal affairs, after he criticised last week's Persepolis verdict.
Nessma TV chief Nabil Karoui was fined 2,400 dinars for "disturbing public order" and offending "good morals" by broadcasting the award-winning film. The US embassy issued a statement saying:
His conviction raises serious concerns about tolerance and freedom of expression in the new Tunisia. We understand that Mr Karoui has the right to appeal his conviction, and we hope this case will be resolved in a manner, which guarantees free expression, a basic right denied to Tunisians during the Ben Ali era.
Tunisia Live reports the government's riposte:
Photograph: Louai Beshara/AFP
The Tunisian ministry of foreign affairs response stated that the ambassador's declarations represent an "interference in the internal affairs of the Tunisian judiciary," and asserted that the Tunisian government conforms to international norms and respects the independence of the judiciary in forming its own conclusion.
Syria: The head of the UN observer mission to Syria, Major General Robert Mood (pictured), and 12 other monitors escaped unharmed in the attack on troops in Dera'a, AFP confirms.
It says six soldiers were wounded in the attack which targeted troops escorting the UN. Addounia TV reported that eight soldiers were wounded.
Syria: Readers who are still in doubt about the outcome of Syria's election will have to wait a bit longer. The government news agency, Sana, says counting has finished in some areas but is still continuing in others.
In Lattakia, counting was finished in 300 out of 817 election centers, while 668 out of 720 ballots were counted in Tartous were six candidates presented an objection.
In Hama, 500 out of 1000 ballots were counted, and the rest are due to be finished by 8 PM, while counting in Aleppo is almost finished, but the Aleppo Countryside ballots are being scrutinized due to the late arrival of some ballots.
300 out of the 604 ballots in Homs have been counted, and 280 out of 561 ballots have been counted in Deir Ezzor.
In Hasaka, 100 ballots have been counted so far, and counting is almost done in the 510 centers in Raqqa.
Counting of ballots was finished in Sweida, Quneitra, Idleb and Daraa.
The pro-regime website Champress has a few results (in Arabic). It claims a turnout of 64.5% in Tartous province and 58% in Suweida.
Syria: Has the rebel Free Syrian Army resumed its attacks as its commander Riad al-Asaad threatened? Reuters says seven militiamen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were killed in another attack on a bus, this time in the Damascus suburb of Irbin.
The attack with rocket-propelled grenades destroyed the vehicle on the edge of Irbin, according to an activist.
"Troops sealed off the area then tanks began shelling. A five story building was badly hit but it was empty," activist Mohammad Saeed told Reuters, saying he was speaking by satellite phone from the suburb.
It is unclear who was behind this attack and the one in Dera'a which reportedly injured eight soldiers and occurred in the presence of UN monitors.
Syria: Troops fired across the Lebanese border on Wednesday morning, killing a 75-year-old woman and wounding her daughter, according to Reuters citing residents and a doctor in the Lebanese town of al-Qaa said.
Halima Suleiman Karbi was shot in the head and her daughter, 33, was shot in the stomach as they sat by a mosque in the rural mountainous border region, residents said. Both were taken to hospital, where Karbi died from her wounds, a doctor said.
Bahrain: The situation in Bahrain is becoming worse, not better, Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group says in an article for the New York Review of Books.
Part of what makes the current situation in Bahrain so disturbing is that the regime has succeeded in replacing the narrative of a peaceful movement for reform with an altogether different one: that the country's majority Shia are intent on driving the Sunnis off the island and handing the country over to Iran ... The regime's use of an Iranian bogeyman has been particularly effective.
Another negative development, according to Hiltermann, is the sidelining of the crown prince, who was not only more reform-minded than others in the royal family but had also been seeking to reduce Bahrain's dependence on neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
As protection for the "Iranian threat", Bahrain is now being driven towards a more dependent relationship with Saudi, in the form of proposals for a political confederation. If that came to pass, Hiltermann writes, "Bahrain would become no more than a satrapy, with the Al Khalifa [the royal family] reduced to, at most, policing the island on behalf of the House of Saud.
The ultimate irony is that in seeking to escape Iranian interference, the Al Khalifas are rushing headlong into a Saudi embrace. For Bahrainis themselves, this would likely mean even less freedom and more autocracy than before: the Saudi regime would want to keep tight control over this tiny spit of land within Iran's military reach, and the introduction of its Wahhabi doctrine would put a swift end to the social liberties and free-wheeling cosmopolitanism to which ordinary Bahrainis have grown accustomed, exemplified by the island's signature Formula One race.
It also deprives many Saudis of illicit pleasures:
Saudi weekenders use the island for wild indulgences forbidden at home: families flock to cinemas, women gather at malls to organise group drives, while men binge-drink and visit houses of ill repute, which now include major hotels, where prostitution is conspicuous.
Syria: An explosion targeted a Syrian military truck in the southern province of Dera'a in front of UN monitors.
An Associated Press reporter who was travelling in the convoy said three bloodied Syrian soldiers were rushed from the scene. The military truck had its windows blown out.
The UN convoy was not hit.
The head of the UN observer mission, Major General Robert Mood, was in the convoy.
Reuters says eight security personnel were wounded, citing a pro-government TV station.