Soldiers defecting from Syrian army, activist says

Soldiers have defected from the Syrian army’s seventh battalion, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights chief Rami Abdel Rahman told Al-Jazeera television on Friday.

He added that “security forces and Shabeeha (thugs) raided houses and arrested people in the city of Banyas as well as in Reef Damascus.”

He also told Al-Jazeera television that “helicopters are still hovering above Deir az-Zour, where thousands of anti-regime protesters are gathering.”

“Checkpoints erected by security forces [across] Aleppo are preventing people from protesting.”

The human rights activist also said that “the uprising [in Syria] will continue and will be joined soon by [protesters in] Aleppo and Damascus.”

Anti-regime protests erupted in Syria in mid-March. According to activists, the Syrian government’s crackdown has left more than 1,400 civilians dead and thousands jailed.

-NOW Lebanon

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