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Syria could be slowly slipping into civil war!

Interesting Article: Syrian security forces fight army defectors by BASSEM MROUE / Damascus published Monday, October 17, 2011

An interesting article in the Independent mentioned that Syrian security forces had clashed with gunmen believed to be army defectors in the northwest of the country. According to the author, the seven month old uprising is becoming increasingly militarized.


The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said five soldiers and other members of security forces were killed in the town of Qusair, near the border with Lebanon. The town has seen clashes between troops and suspected defectors for weeks. Syria-based rights activist Mustafa Osso said there were also clashes Monday in the nearby Jabal al-Zawiya region, near Hass. The Syrian uprising began more than seven months ago by mostly peaceful protesters looking to topple a regime that has held power for more than four decades. In recent weeks, there have been reports of protesters taking up arms and of Syrian soldiers defecting from the military and turning their guns on troops. Demonstrators have held rallies to support the Free Syrian Army, a group of defectors which has claimed armed operations across the country. The Free Syrian Army is the main opposition army group in Syria. It is composed of defected military officers and soldiers of the Syrian Army. The formation of the opposition army group was announced on 29 July 2011 in a web video released by a group of uniformed defectors from the Syrian military, who called upon members of the army to defect and join them. The leader of the men, who identified himself as Colonel Riyad al-Asad (former Colonel in the Syrian Air Force who defected in July 2011), announced that the FSA would work with demonstrators to bring down the system and declared that all security forces attacking civilians are justified targets. On 23 September 2011, the Free Syrian Army merged with the Free Officers Movement. On desertion, the soldiers have to abandon their armored vehicles and, carrying only light ammunition, hide in cities and suburbs. As the Syrian army is highly organized and well-armed, the Free Syrian Army has adapted guerrilla-style tactics inside cities. The FSA claims it actively engages and ambushes security forces and the state’s shabiha militia, but seldom confronts other regular army soldiers for fear of alienating them. Most of their attacks have been on buses bringing in security reinforcements, often by planting bombs or carrying out hit-and run-attacks. In order to encourage defections, the Free Syrian Army has been ambushing patrols and shooting their commanders and then convincing the rank and file to switch sides. Ninety percent of the Syrian Army soldiers are Sunni, while the commanders are mostly from Bashar Assad's Alawi sect. A defected officer in the Syrian opposition claimed that over a hundred officers had defected as well as thousands of conscripts, although many had gone into hiding or home to their families, rather than fighting the loyalist forces in the city of Al-Rastan. As of October 2011, the Free Syrian Army according to its commander had eighteen battalions. Well, will Syria be in a state of civil war? With all these defections, one can only see a violent end to Bashar al-Assad (President of Syria and Regional Secretary of the Ba'ath Party).

References:
Sly, Liz (25 September 2011). "In Syria, defectors form dissident army in sign uprising may be entering new phase". Washington Post.
Syrians Vote For Assad in Uncontested Referendum". The Washington Post.
Landis, Joshua (29 July 2011). "Free Syrian Army Founded by Seven Officers to Fight the Syrian Army
Fielding, Abigail (2011-09-29). "Syrian defectors battle Assad’s army". FT.com
Wednesday. "Thousands of troops desert from Syrian army - The National". Thenational.ae.
Defected brigade says it has killed 80 members of Assad’s forces". English.alarabiya.net. 2011-09-29



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