Syria Cracks Down On Residents, Raids Cities
The gunfire killed at least one and injured five others, according to eyewitness accounts. Aside from the injuries, residents of the area said several were arrested in house raids in attempt to gain control in a quickly escalating situation.
The Syrian government has denied any such defections by soldiers, but since Col. Moammar Gaddafi has all but disappeared from Libya, reports of protests and defections has increased in record numbers.
Activists say there have been desertions in eastern Deir al-Zor province, northwestern Idlib province, the Homs countryside and the outskirts of Damascus, where security forces fought gunbattles with defectors Sunday.
At least 40 light tanks and armored vehicles, 20 buses of troops and military intelligence members deployed at dawn at the entrance of Rastan, 20 km (12 miles) north of Homs and began firing heavy machineguns at the town, two residents said.
"The tanks deployed at both banks of the highway, which remained open, and fired long bursts from their machineguns at Rastan," one of the residents, who gave his name as Raed, told Reuters by phone.
Meanwhile, the European Union has said they are prepared to move forward with an embargo on Syrian oil given the situation at hand with in the country, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Syria exports approximately 95% of their oil to nations in the European Union.