Violence sweeping across Syria killed 25 people today, most of them in a battle between troops and a growing force of army defectors who have joined the movement to oust the autocratic Bashar al-Assad, activists said. The pre-dawn clashes in the city of Idlib between regime forces and defectors killed seven soldiers and policemen, as well as five defectors and three civilians. Elsewhere, security forces reportedly killed one civilian in the southern province of Daraa, six in the central region of Homs, and three others in areas near Idlib.
Until recently, most of the bloodshed in Syria was caused by security forces firing on mainly peaceful protesters, but there have been growing reports of army defectors and armed civilians fighting regime forces. The clashes came as activists reported a grim milestone in the 8-month-old revolt against Assad: November was the deadliest month of the uprising, with at least 950 people killed in gunbattles, raids, and other violence.