AMMAN Aug 29 An armoured Syrian force
surrounded a town north of Homs on Monday after the defection of
tens of soldiers from the area, activists and residents said, in
the latest operation to counter dissent within the military
during a five month uprising.
At least 40 light tanks and armoured vehicles, and 20 buses
full of troops and Military Intelligence, deployed at 5:30 a.m.
at the highway entrance of Rastan, 20 km (12 miles)north of the
city of Homs and began firing heavy machineguns at the town.
Rastan is traditionally a reservoir of recruits for the
mostly Sunni rank-and-file army dominated by officers from
Syria's Alawite minority sect, the same sect as President Bashar
(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Amman newsroom)