Syria Deserter: We Were Ordered to Shoot Civilians
Story supports claim that Syrian army is tearing apart
By Tim Karan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2011 5:05 PM CDT
A Syrian Army deserter says soldiers are being forced to fire on unarmed civilians.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A Syrian Army deserter says he fled after his unit was ordered to shoot at unarmed anti-regime protestors, reports the Christian Science Monitor. Darwish Mohammed Fidou also says he saw soldiers shooting each other as the army further split over orders to kill civilians. “My heart is broken to watch my people die, the Syrian people die, to see such a thing as this,” says Fidou. “It was the same when I had orders to shoot on the people—it broke my heart.”

His story supports the claim that the deaths of 120 police and security officers in Jisr al-Shughur were the result of dissent within the Syrian army instead of an "ambush" by "armed gangs," as state-run media reported. "The first day they didn't tell us anything, just that there are gangs out there, trying to kill people," says the former soldier. "When we went to the streets, we were surprised to find only people with olive branches." He says snipers were positioned to shoot soldiers who disobeyed.