On April 25, clashes were reported in several Syrian cities, Middle East Newsline reported. At least 40
people were said to have been killed by fire from Syrian security forces in
the southern city of Dera.
Reports from Syria asserted that the 5th Army was racked by desertions.
One report said at least 230 soldiers fled the Army, and some of them were
battling the 4th Army, commanded by Assad's younger brother, Maher. The
president's brother-in-law, Assaf Chawkat, deputy Army commander, was also
regarded as a key member of the regime crackdown, in which at least 500
people were reported arrested.
The sources said intelligence officers have helped track some of the
deserters and were arresting or shooting them. They said the officers have
been helped by Iranian forces, including Hizbullah and the Islamic
Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The Kuwaiti daily Al Watan, said to be authoritative, reported that Iran
has sent 3,000 officers from IRGC's Basij militia to Syria. Al Watan said
Hizbullah has also deployed 1,200 fighters from Lebanon to Syria,
particularly in Dera.
The United States has determined that the revolt in Syria would become
increasingly bloody. The State Department has urged all Americans to leave
Syria immediately as the administration of President Barack Obama assessed
that Assad was receiving Iranian support to help quell the opposition.
"President Assad is blaming outsiders while seeking Iranian assistance
in repressing Syria's citizens through the same brutal tactics that have
been used by his Iranian allies," Obama said.