An armored Syrian force surrounded a town near Homs yesterday and fired heavy machine guns after the defection of tens of soldiers from the area, activists and residents said.


Since the demise have reported increasing defections among Syrian troops. Th of Muammar Gaddafi’s rule over Libya, activists and residentsey say there have been desertions in eastern Deir al-Zor province, northwestern Idlib province, the Homs countryside and the outskirts of Damascus, where President Bashar al-Assad’s forces fought gun battles with defectors on Sunday.


At least 40 light tanks and armored vehicles plus 20 buses of troops and government Military Intelligence deployed at the highway entrance of Rastan, 12 miles north of the city of Homs, and began firing heavy machine guns at the town, two residents said.