On May 9, the London-based Amnesty International reported that more than
350 people were arrested in Banias over the previous three days. Amnesty
said many of the civilians were held in a soccer field as authorities cut off
water, electricity and communications. The southern city of Dera has also
been denied basic services.
"Killings of protesters are spiralling out of control in Syria," Amnesty
deputy director Philip Luther said. "President Bashar Assad must order his
security forces to stop the carnage immediately."
The security forces have also sought to infiltrate the opposition
command. The sources said Syrian officers were posing as anti-regime
activists at demonstrations and underwent arrest to bolster their
The Assad regime was also said to have repelled hundreds of Islamist
fighters who had targeted Syrian police and other officers. The sources said
many of them fled either to neighboring Iraq or Jordan.
At the same time, Syrian intelligence has been intercepting cellular,
satellite and other communications employed by the opposition. The
opposition sources said this has facilitated the arrest of at least 2,000
people over the last few days.
"We believe Assad has been given significant help by the Iranians in
either intercepting or shutting down all telephone services," the source
said. "Without communications, the revolt turns into isolated resistance."