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On Friday, Syria’s biggest Druze city, Suwaida, became an “Assad-free” zone as portraits of the despot and his father were burned in public. With the Druze joining the uprising, all of Syria’s dozen or so ethnic and religious communities are now marching under the banner of revolt against the Assad dynasty.

More important, the day brought the first signs that at least some of the security forces are reluctant to shoot demonstrators. According to my sources, security men have shot at least three soldiers on the spot for “disobedience.” “These were cold-blooded executions in the street,” a source said. “The soldiers had refused to fire on marchers. They were killed by men from the Alawite minority to which Assad belongs.” Special Alawite units, known asal-Ashbah¬†or “ghosts,” appear in civilian clothes to kill demonstrators at random, a tactic meant to terrorize the opposition.

(Amir Taheri – New York Post)

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