Syrian Troops Clash With Army Defectors
Syrian troops battled army defectors Sunday in clashes that set several military vehicles ablaze. The fighting and other violence around the nation killed at least eight people, activists said.
For the first time, an act of violent protest against President Bashar Assad’s regime spilled across the border into Jordan, where about a dozen Syrians attacked their embassy Sunday in the capital, Amman, injuring at least two diplomats and four other consulate employees.
The 9-month-old uprising against Syria’s authoritarian President Bashar Assad has grown increasingly violent in recent months as once-peaceful protesters take up arms and defected soldiers who have joined the uprising fight back against the army. The U.N. says more than 4,000 people have been killed since March.
Opposition activists called for a general strike starting Sunday in a bid to squeeze the government and push it to stop its bloody crackdown. Assad has refused to buckle under Arab and international pressure to step down and has shown no sign of easing his crackdown, which has included assaults by the military on unarmed protesters.
Now, fighting between loyalist forces and defectors calling themselves the Free Syrian Army threatens to push the confrontation into civil war.