The escalating military offensive in northwest Syria began after what corroborating accounts said was a shoot-out between members of the military secret police in Jisr al-Shughur, some of whom refused to open fire on unarmed protesters.
A growing number of first-hand testimonies from defected soldiers give a rare but dramatic insight into the cracks apparently emerging in Syria’s security forces as the unrelenting assault on unarmed protesters continues.
Speaking to Al Jazeera from Turkey, having crossed the border on Friday night, an activist based in Jisr al-Shughur and trusted by experienced local reporters described how a funeral on June 4 for a man shot dead by plain-clothes security a day earlier grew into a large anti-government protest.
“As the demonstration passed the headquarters of the military secret police they opened fire right away and killed eight people,” the activist, who was among the crowd, said. “But some of the secret police refused to open fire and there were clashes between them. It was complete chaos.”
The following day the activist and others went back to the military police building having heard explosions coming from the area the evening before. They found dozens of bodies, including that of the military police chief, identified by his ID card.
As the story states, there is no foreign media in Syria, so it is very difficult to verify these reports, but they do coincide with similar bulletins coming from Syria, so one can have some hope that they are true. Bashar al-Assad’s regime is in serious trouble, and with the exception of the theocratic regime in Iran, that trouble couldn’t happen to a more appalling Middle Eastern government.