Monday, August 29, 2011

Syria's Military Cracking?

As the Syrian regime continues its violent crackdown on demonstrators, there are reports of dissension in the ranks:
"Syrian security forces have killed at least six people and wounded dozens in raids across the country, as tanks and armoured vehicles rolled into various flashpoint areas, according to human rights groups...

"There have been consistent reports of some units refusing to fire on protesters, but the crackdown has continued...

"Opposition activists say security forces have also surrounded the central town of Rastan after reports of 'widespread defections' by soldiers there.

"A video posted on video-sharing website YouTube, which Al Jazeera cannot independently verify, appears to show 12 army officers switching sides...

"Activists and residents have been reporting increasing defections in the Syrian army since the demise of Muammar Gaddafi's rule over Libya, Reuters reported.

"They claim there have been desertions in the eastern Deir ez-Zor province, the northwestern Idlib province, the Homs countryside and at the outskirts of Damascus.

"A statement published on the internet by the Free Officers, a group that says it represents defectors, also said 'large defections' had occurred in Harasta; the first reported defections around the capital, where President Bashar al-Assad's core forces are based...

"This came as Syrian opposition leaders formed a National Transitional Council in Turkey. It included 42 members who are currently in Syria, and will be led by a prominent opposition figure based in Paris."

When I noted the possible effects of Qadhafi's fall on other Arab countries, I thought of the protestors, but had not considered that it could inspire defections in the armed forces. Incidentally, is "National Transitional Council" going to be the Revolutionary Command Council of the 21st century?

(Crossposted to American Footprints)



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