Both sides in the Syrian conflict are flexing their muscles ahead of the arrival of Arab League monitors.
New amateur video claims to show opposition fighters from the Syrian Free Army in the north of the country, where reports say some of the conflict’s worst bloodshed has been taking place.
Among the group of army defectors, a captain reiterates the call for international protection.
“We are, God willing, demanding a buffer (no-fly) zone, if we got this it would give us aerial cover. With aerial cover we’ll be able to liberate our country,” said the captain, named as Abu Mujaidin.
The Arab League, meeting in Cairo, has said it will send an advance team of observers to Syria this week. Its mission: to help implement the Arab peace plan without international interference.
Syria signed the deal on Monday after the League threatened to go to the UN Security Council.
At the same time Syrian state television has shown pictures of military manoeuvres aimed at deterring any attack on the country.
The live-fire show of strength comes amid reports saying the crackdown has intensified. Activists claim Syrian forces have killed some 200 civilians and army deserters, prompting France to condemn what it calls an “unprecedented massacre”.