Syrian Troops Kill 30 Defectors in Damascus

Opposition Were Trying to Escort Them to Rebel-Held Suburb

by Jason Ditz, March 12, 2013

A group of 30 deserters from the Syrian military were killed today on the outskirts of Damascus after troops ambushed them attempting to make their way to a rebel-held suburb of the capital.

Rebels who were escorting the deserters say that the ambush, which occurred overnight, suggested that the troops knew they were coming. They said seven other defectors were also badly wounded in the attack.

Defections among Syria’s Sunni majority have caused a major problem for the Assad government, with the troops not only hurting the levels of their own military but boosting the numbers of rebel factions.

Syrian state media has downplayed this, but the effect is becoming more and more apparent, as the military is forced to abandon more remote areas to the rebels rather than commit troops to try to keep the supply lines open.

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