Syrian troops and heavy armor encircled the restive northern town of Jisr al-Shughour today, and thousands of people continued to stream across the lush Turkish border. Turkey's government said more than 2,000 people had crossed in the past day—sharply escalating the upheaval that threatens Syria's authoritarian regime. Al-Watan, a pro-government newspaper, reported today that the army was mobilizing for a confrontation that would last for days. It said troops faced an estimated 2,000 gunmen backed by young extremist villagers.
Activists have made prolific use of Facebook and YouTube videos to bolster their claims that the government is attacking innocent Syrians, and not the other way around. Videos have shown the apparent torture of two teenage boys, 15 and 13, the latter whose body was returned to family members with bullet wounds and a severed penis. "I don't want to die. I want Bashar Assad to go," said one Syrian teenager identified only by his first name, Ahmad. (Read more Syria stories.)