Syrian army 'deserter' says massacres made him quit

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Syrian army 'deserter' says massacres made him quit

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New US sanctions and other international pressure on Syria do not seem to have deterred President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

While the latest amateur videos, which are hard to independently verify, appear to show the army in action, human rights campaigners say at least five civilians have been killed by troops who stormed a town near the Lebanese border.

Dozens of tanks are said to have gone into Quosseir, prompting local people to flee across fields, according to one activist.

A video has emerged from the same town, apparently showing an army deserter.

The officer brandishes his identity card and declares, into the camera: “I’m leaving al-Assad’s army because of the massacres committed by the army in Deir el Zour and Hama. Syrian families, we beg you to ask your children to withdraw from this rotten army.”

On Wednesday, while the UN again produced lots of condemnation but no agreement on action, Syria’s Permanent Representative took the chance to attack the west, accusing Britain of hypocrisy.

“It’s very informative to hear the prime minister of England describing the riots and rioters in England by using the term ‘gangs’, while they don’t allow us to use the same term,” said Bashar Ja’afari.

Al-Assad’s regime has consistently described protesters as armed terrorists. Troops have withdrawn from Hama but there is little sign of the repression ending.

Meanwhile there have been more calls via Facebook for another large anti-government protest after Friday prayers.