One example was that of Murad Hejo, a soldier from Madaya. The
opposition said he was shot in the back during the deployment of the Syrian
Army in the port city of Banias on April 8.
"His family and town are saying he refused to shoot at his people,"
Syrian human rights activist Wassim Tarif said.
This marked the first reports of Syrian soldiers disobeying regime
orders amid the crackdown on the massive protests that swept the country this month. The opposition said one soldier, identified as Mohammed Qunbar,
was killed by Assad's officers for refusing to fire on protesters.
The regime has reported the killing of about 30 Syrian soldiers and
police in clashes with security forces. But Damascus did not indicate any
problem with discipline either in the military or police.
The opposition said the regime was deploying thousands of plainclothes
mercenaries and volunteers called Shabiha. The Shabiha were said to have
been firing from their cars on demonstrators and others in such cities as
Banias, Dera and Latikia.
For its part, the regime has maintained that unidentified foreign
countries were deploying insurgency cells in Syria. On April 13, state-owned
Syrian television broadcast what it termed a confession by an Islamist cell
said to have been headed by Anas Kanj and directed from neighboring Lebanon.
"We were recently assigned a mission to launch an armed attack against
the Sbeineh police station in suburban Damascus meant to exploit the low
level of security," Kanj said.