As Syria intensifies its clampdown on anti-government protesters, international pressure on the regime is being stepped up.
It comes as new amateur video, the authenticity of which cannot be verified, purports to show mass arrests in Deraa.
The US has described Syria’s reported tactics – using tanks and arbitrary arrests – as “barbaric measures” against “innocent civilians”. France has called on the EU to impose sanctions on Syrian leaders.
In a video that has been independently verified by euronews, a Syrian army soldier claims some troops have disobeyed orders to fire on protesters.
“We didn’t find a group of armed soldiers as we were told we would, but just ordinary protesters,” the soldier said. “They were chanting slogans calling for freedom and the fall of the regime. We were surprised that the security forces were firing at protesters for no reason, including women and children.
“We received the order from our officers to shoot at anything that moved, even unarmed children and the elderly in Harasta. We got close to them, we threw our arms on the ground and the people protected us. When our officers saw that, they opened fire on us. One of my colleagues was hit in the shoulder but we succeeded in taking him into hiding.”
Another amateur video has been published purporting to show children in Deraa echoing their parents’ calls for freedom.
Elsewhere Syrian forces are said to have surrounded the coastal city of Banias.