Syria: At least 12 dead as number of army defectors reaches 15,000
Rights activists said at least 12 Syrian civilians were killed Thursday by security forces, one day after Damascus announced its acceptance of the initiative put forward by the Arab League to resolve the crisis. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced earlier the killing of 7 civilians in the city of Homs.
Meanwhile, Syrian dissident colonel, Riad Al-Assaad, the commander of the so-called "Free Syrian army," conveyed the number of soldiers who deserted from the Syrian army ranges between 10,000 to 15,000 soldiers, including special forces, Republican Guard and intelligence. In response to news that the defectors receive outside support, Assaad accused the Syrian regime of lying and fabricating media reports. He said: "So far we have not received any support from anywhere, even the opposition did not offer us any support" .
Assaad, now residing in Turkey, conveyed: "We get the weapons just inside Syria, with the support of the citizens. We buy weapons from the security agents because they are corrupt, and sell their weapons to us. We buy weapons from all the military services of the regime." Assaad downplayed the regime's acceptance of the Arab plan. "We say to the Arab League .. Beware of this corrupt liar. This regime just wants to gain more time, and can not be trusted. The Arab League should be cautious."