Syrian troops continued to move against defectors in the city of al-Rastan today, with shelling across the city reported killing at least eight people, including four of the defectors. Witnesses also reported troops entered the southern portion of the town.
Reports have those who have deserted from Syria’s military trying to organize around Rastan, with the hope of forming some sort of “Free Syrian Army” to start a civil war against the Assad regime.
Syria’s state media, which has usually made at least some cursory attempt to gloss over the violence in other cities, has completely ignored the violence in Rastan, and has not made any recent comments about the defections.
Past indications, however, are that the government will deny any defections are actually taking place and claim that the entire story is a western plot designed to encourage unrest across the nation. Given the broad sense of disquiet nationwide, it is hard to believe anyone overseas needs to do anything to convince the Syrian public of the need to oppose Assad.